Teaching Your Dog To Play Nicely With Other Dogs
It’s very important that dogs learn to play properly. Play is a vital part of their development and it keeps them healthy and happy. It’s a completely normal behaviour that allows dogs to socialise and learn. However, with some dogs play can get out of hand. Play can become too rough and some dogs go past the point of play and that’s when problems arise. Dogs need to learn to be gentle and not get too over excited when it comes to both playing with humans and other dogs.
When dogs are playing with each other it can sometimes look quite rough. Most owners know the sounds and movements their dog makes during play and would be able to recognise if something changes. However, sometimes it can be very difficult to tell. It’s quite common for dogs to bark, lunge and play bite during play with other dogs. Dogs use play learn important things like bite inhibition, so that they know how much pressure to apply when Try and get to know your dog’s body language so that you can step in if needed. Occasionally even if both dogs are having fun play can get a bit intense, so you might want to give them a break to calm them down.
As well as signs of bad play there are also signs of normal play that you should look out for. For example bouncing about, play bowing and role reversal. Dogs occasionally enjoy playing games that involve them swapping roles. For example, one dog will be the chaser and then they will switch. These are all signs of healthy, normal play behaviour.
It’s also important to be aware of the other dog. Are they happy with the situation? Is your dog being over the top and making them feel uncomfortable? If you feel the other dog is not happy then recall your dog and move on. If your dog can’t seem to play appropriately and they push other dogs too far then don’t let them off the lead until their behaviour has improved. Allow them only to play with dogs that can cope with their level of energy or take them to a dog trainer.
The best thing you can do is to socialise your dog from a very young age. Take them to the park and allow them to interact with other dogs. Find some suitable playmates for them and allow them to learn the rules of play. Get an older dog who is very controlled and confident at playing and they will probably teach your pup a few things.
Try and teach your dog very clear obedience commands. Dogs that are more obedient and respond to their owners commands are more likely to do what their owner says if play becomes too much. Teach them good recall and get them to sit and wait on command. This is also helpful if your dog is playing with another dog that gets too aggressive or over the top, because you can get your dog back quickly and easily.
You can also reward your dog for displaying good play behaviour by giving them verbal praise, allowing them to play longer. Be careful when giving your dog treats when other dogs are around, it could cause problems.