Jackie, Sophie's Mom
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Play fighting is normal. My Sophie loves it when my friend's bichipoo comes over. Even though Lucy is taller and heavier, and Sophie usually ends up on the bottom looking up, she loves it and goes back for more. My husband used to hate it when we would take care of Lucy because he got all nervous and upset when they would play fight. Try to remain calm and take your cues from Heath. If he is sick of the play and truly is trying to end the game and wants to be left alone, give him a place to go where he feels safe. You could leave his crate open or maybe his dog bed. These places would be out-of-bounds for Biscuit. If Biscuit tries to follow into Heath's crate or bed, a firm but calm "hey!" or "uh-uh" along with some body blocking should do the trick.
If Heath is like Sophie (a little instigator) and just keeps coming back for more, let them go. If one dog is too rough, the other dog will usually give a high pitched cry or bark to let them know. The offender will usually back off or try to make ammends (Sophie gives lickies). If the level of both dogs growling just keeps escalating, and the growls are sounding different then normal play growling, a loud noise (sharp voice sound or banging a pot, etc.) should distract them and you can separate them. Sometimes, it does go on too long and you just want some peace and quiet, so distracting them with sound and then getting them to focus on you through a toy or a treat will give you a breather.
As for walking with two... When we dogsit for Lucy, and I take the both of them for a walk, I first let them sniff and poop/pee as we go past our first three houses. If they haven't done it by then, I then prepare to get them into the "zone". I shorten both leashes, have one dog on either side and say "lets go". If they pull too much I say "uh-uh" and stop, make them sit and focus on me, then say "lets go" and start again. Sometimes it takes a block or block and a half for them to get into a good pace without too much pull. If they are doing really well together I will let the leash out so they can walk ahead of me beside eachother. However, Sophie (the instigator) will usually mess this up first, so then I go back to shortening the leash and putting them on either side of me.
Please remind me how old Heath is. Have either of them been to obedience training? My friend and I took Sophie and Lucy to the local Petsmart puppy/beginner classes. It's a great place to teach them leash manners along with how to walk by and greet other dogs.
Just remember to stay calm but be assertive and try not to get frustrated or nervous. Dogs will pick up on that, see it as weak energy and do their own thing (my husband tends to do this with Sophie). Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!