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Do you allow your pupper to engage in rough play? My guy normally plays chase games with other dogs except when we visit the neighbor's house. Their doggo doesn't play chase. It is always a wrestling match with the dogs on their hind legs. Their dog is usually the victor. He pins my pup repeatedly. Should I be allowing this? I worry about joint health and whether this is good dog play. Thanks
 

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Arf! Arf!
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Do you allow your pupper to engage in rough play? My guy normally plays chase games with other dogs except when we visit the neighbor's house. Their doggo doesn't play chase. It is always a wrestling match with the dogs on their hind legs. Their dog is usually the victor. He pins my pup repeatedly. Should I be allowing this? I worry about joint health and whether this is good dog play. Thanks
IN MY OPINION, if there is no pain, no yelping, and no blood, then it is acceptable play, but you need to supervise and be the referee when necessary.
 

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When is “Play” too much?



Do you allow your pupper to engage in rough play? My guy normally plays chase games with other dogs except when we visit the neighbor's house. Their doggo doesn't play chase. It is always a wrestling match with the dogs on their hind legs. Their dog is usually the victor. He pins my pup repeatedly. Should I be allowing this? I worry about joint health and whether this is good dog play. Thanks




Havanese play style is very distinctive in that they definitely prefer the side-by-side run-like-hell type of play! That is why we love doing Havanese play dates! All the dogs understand that kind of play!!! MOST Havanese are NOT into a lot of wrassling past the young puppy stage. (Thank HEAVENS, because it make mats!!! LOL!)



Whether you allow heavy, continued rough housing depends on a few things. Are the dogs approximately the same age and same size? If there is a big disparity in age or size, keep an eye out that the smaller/younger one isn’t getting the short end of the stick too often, even if it LOOKS like they are having fun. Just because the smaller one is wagging and seems to be engaging, may not be because they “like” it, but appeasement behavior, because the LAST thing they want is for that biger, older, more powerful dog to become aggressive. And YOU may know (think) that won’t happen, but think about it from the DOG’S perspective. THEY can’t be positive. So they try to “nice” their way out of it.



If there is a significant size difference, and ESPECIALLY if the smaller one is under a year old, I would be EXTREMELY cautious. You can DEFINITELY cause damage to immature joints during this period. There is little danger of that sort of damage between same-size dogs.



One really good way to check and see if games like that are REALLY consensual play, and that BOTH parties are enjoying it is for both owners to separate their dogs for a short (30 second) time out to settle down for pats and cookies, a little distance apart. Let the non-dominant dog go first. If he makes a bee-line back toward his buddy, it’s a pretty sure bet that he was enjoying the play. If, instead, he hangs back by his owner, it is a pretty strong signal that he’s had enough. Do this “check-in” every 5-10 minutes, and you can gauge how things are going. This can also teach the more assertive dog that the play session ends when he is too rough. So in the long run can lead to a better relationship!



One other thing to keep in mind, and until you are used to seeing it, it can be hard to tell the difference, is there are some dogs whose preferred position for play-fighting is on their backs. Pixel does this ALL THE TIME. If she is playing, she flings herself to the ground and kicks at the other dog’s belly, like a cat! It might LOOK like the other dog has pinned her, but SHE put herself in that position. If she and Panda get in a “real” bitch fight (and they do, from time to time) Pixel will not give an inch, and she will not let Panda put her on the ground!
 

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I agree with Karen and the detail she goes into. Sometimes the smaller Havanese can be the more dominant aggressor. I think RICKY would LOVE PIXEL's play style. He likes feisty women! A real clue to participatory play style is a dogs side by side 'chase me' game. If the dogs are trading off who is being chased, then they are both enjoying the game on an equal basis even if it involves some horrendous collisions from time to time (as fully mature adults). Often dogs will call their own time-outs to catch their breath or get a drink. **** ALWAYS HAVE PLENTY OF CLEAN FRESH WATER AVAILABLE DURING VIGOROUS PLAY. Don't let them drink out of mud puddles!
 

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I agree with Karen and the detail she goes into. Sometimes the smaller Havanese can be the more dominant aggressor. I think RICKY would LOVE PIXEL's play style. He likes feisty women! A real clue to participatory play style is a dogs side by side 'chase me' game. If the dogs are trading off who is being chased, then they are both enjoying the game on an equal basis even if it involves some horrendous collisions from time to time (as fully mature adults). Often dogs will call their own time-outs to catch their breath or get a drink. **** ALWAYS HAVE PLENTY OF CLEAN FRESH WATER AVAILABLE DURING VIGOROUS PLAY. Don't let them drink out of mud puddles!
Panda cheats. Pixel is ALWAYS faster when they do their “around the the center garden” chase games in our back yard. When Pixel gets too far ahead, Panda cuts theough the middle of the garden to head her off at the pass! LOL!
 

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Scout likes to play-chase with other small dogs that he knows. Truffles is very cautious and really isn't interested in playing with other dogs. Even though Truffles is much smaller than Scout she has alway been more dominant and the aggressor. She likes to play-fight and growl at Scout. I've never ever heard a growl out of Scout. The way our downstairs is set up they can run in circles and it makes me dizzy! 😄 They can run so fast! They always keep as entertained!
 

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Panda cheats. Pixel is ALWAYS faster when they do their “around the the center garden” chase games in our back yard. When Pixel gets too far ahead, Panda cuts theough the middle of the garden to head her off at the pass! LOL!
Lol....Charlie does this anytime he’s playing with a smaller, faster dog! His playmates don’t usually seem to catch on, or maybe they just don’t care because it’s more exciting that way!

Thankfully chase has become more the norm as he’s gotten older, because he definitely was a wrestler for a while and did need much more brushing (especially when he did it at the beach!) The biggest mess was a game we call ‘bitey face’ which he only played with his bestie, Billie. SO much saliva even though neither dog is particularly drooly. The weirder part is that they only did this after 5-10 minutes of vigorous ummm....humping... (despite both of them being neutered at an appropriate age!) This lasted a few months- anytime we were over at Billie’s house, they’d go off and do their humping and bitey face thing! He used to occasionally hump for a second to entice other dogs to play (when he was a puppy), but this definitely seemed quite different as it was a bit more, uh, sustained! :ROFLMAO: They seem to have gotten over it, whatever it was!
 

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I think Perry likes the running around play (though he's never had another dog who plays like that so I'm not sure) - but the main dog he plays with right now is scotty cousin Finley - and Finley loves to run, BUT his play style is run and pounce, and the moment Finley pounces Perry stops running. I like what Karen said about about the check ins, because that's what we did with them in the beginning (especially if it started to sound a little too loud/ rough or if Perry seemed to always be on the defense). We closely supervise, but Perry has figured out that if he's done with playing with Finley, he comes over to either me or Fin's mom and puts his legs up on ours which is his signal that he's done playing. At that point we either pick Perry up and put him on a chair (if we're in the middle of something and can't closely supervise Finley to make sure he stops) or we work with Finley to ensure that he gives Perry space. Perry knows, at that point, to stay by us - we've told him that if he goes back for more then he's fair game :).

Finley is pretty good about staying low (at about 25 pounds he's slightly twice Perry's size though only slightly taller) but we do still keep them closely supervised to ensure that Perry can get away if he wants to and that Finley doesn't get too rough and jumps on top of him too much. Finley is used to playing really rough because his favorite playmate is cousin Zadie who is a standard poodle around 60 pounds (and Zadie plays rough because her favorite playmate at home is my nephew's pitty mix).
 

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Scout likes to play-chase with other small dogs that he knows. Truffles is very cautious and really isn't interested in playing with other dogs. Even though Truffles is much smaller than Scout she has alway been more dominant and the aggressor. She likes to play-fight and growl at Scout. I've never ever heard a growl out of Scout. The way our downstairs is set up they can run in circles and it makes me dizzy! 😄 They can run so fast! They always keep as entertained!
They are adorable together! He’s WAY bigger than she is! I didn’t realize HOW big the size difference was until seeing the video!
 
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Lol....Charlie does this anytime he’s playing with a smaller, faster dog! His playmates don’t usually seem to catch on, or maybe they just don’t care because it’s more exciting that way!

Thankfully chase has become more the norm as he’s gotten older, because he definitely was a wrestler for a while and did need much more brushing (especially when he did it at the beach!) The biggest mess was a game we call ‘bitey face’ which he only played with his bestie, Billie. SO much saliva even though neither dog is particularly drooly. The weirder part is that they only did this after 5-10 minutes of vigorous ummm....humping... (despite both of them being neutered at an appropriate age!) This lasted a few months- anytime we were over at Billie’s house, they’d go off and do their humping and bitey face thing! He used to occasionally hump for a second to entice other dogs to play (when he was a puppy), but this definitely seemed quite different as it was a bit more, uh, sustained! :ROFLMAO: They seem to have gotten over it, whatever it was!
Are you sure it was all saliva then? LOL!
 
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I read a fantastic article on paying attention to to and reading body language in dogs during play that I can’t seem to find because something is wrong with my bookmarks and I’m too impatient to figure out where I’m logged out or not syncing. It was either related to an article Dave shared from Whole Dog or on the Fenzi blog. Knowing your own dog and learning to read others are a good place to start.
 

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Havanese play style is very distinctive in that they definitely prefer the side-by-side run-like-hell type of play! That is why we love doing Havanese play dates! All the dogs understand that kind of play!!! MOST Havanese are NOT into a lot of wrassling past the young puppy stage. (Thank HEAVENS, because it make mats!!! LOL!)
please tell this to Keeper. He loves to wrestle. His coat does not.
 

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They are adorable together! He’s WAY bigger than she is! I didn’t realize HOW big the size difference was until seeing the video!
Scout is at the top of the breed standard. His breeder thought he would be a big boy. Truffles is at the opposite end. She is very compact...short body and legs. 😁
 

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Scout is at the top of the breed standard. His breeder thought he would be a big boy. Truffles is at the opposite end. She is very compact...short body and legs. 😁
I have “Big and little and in between” here too! LOL!
 
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Finley loves to wrestle with our 45 pound Aussie mix, Wallace. Most of the time, Finn will initiate play, and often, but not always, she's on her back. We are sometimes reminded of a cheetah eating a gazelle on the Serengeti! (But he doesn't pin her down; she's always able to get up.) She also loves for him to chase her; if he stops, she'll run up to him and get his attention. Occasionally there's a very small yip, but he'll stop play immediately and walk away, and she will come after him again, as if she's saying, "no, we're good, I'm fine. Let's play!"

But I agree that play with a bigger dog needs to be monitored and you need to watch for signals from both dogs.

When Tessie, our lab, and Wallace play, they are rougher with each other. Finley does not get in the mix for that, but barks from the sidelines, as if she's the referee.
 
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