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Dog play etiquette and control - esp neck biting

(6 Posts)
paddythepooch Fri 19-Oct-12 08:05:26


I'm new to this - had our approx 9 month lurcher for about 5 weeks. He's doing great.

He LOVES playing with other dogs but is v boisterous and does the neck biting thing. He seems good at sussing out if the other dog wants to play - so leaves his elders and betters alone.

I'm concerned that he gets OTT and want to try and control the neck biting which I sense that some owners are alarmed by (I don't blame them!). He's quite big so it's understandable esp if it's a smaller dog.

I don't want him to stop playing - it's good for him and he will learn from it. But equally I don't want him to be a PITA. Any tips for controlling the neck biting bit esp? Should I just watch carefully and say 'no' and put him back on the lead when it happens?

I know some of this is down to what owners feel comfy with. We meet one lab pup where the owner clearly doesn't want him to play with her but the puppy comes over to say hello.

Any tips on training and etiquette here?

EasyToEatTiger Fri 19-Oct-12 08:59:08

You should be ok as long as your dog isn't taking chunks out of another dog. It is important when dogs meet that there is enough space for them to run away. Small footpaths are hopeless for this. It is worth remembering that dogs are usually on a lead for a reason so best avoided.
Keep an eye on your dog, and really watch what is going on. Are you watching the reaction of the other dog too, or focusing mainly on your dog?

paddythepooch Fri 19-Oct-12 11:40:30

Watching both - he's just come back from a glorious run with a saluki type lurcher and they were both doing it to each other. No hint of aggression - just a pair of loons. I'm especially wary when it's a much smaller/slower dog.

Good point re space. Just safer for all concerned.

PandaWatch Fri 19-Oct-12 17:34:12

Does your dog only start this when mid-play with a dog? My dog is happy to be sniffed at by other dogs but he doesn't ever engage in play and it really pisses me off when dog owners don't call their dogs off when they keep hassling him and he clearly wants to be left alone. I had this the other day with a massive german shepherd and the owners just carried on walking. We ended up having to walk the other way to get their dog to leave ours alone.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, as long as the other dog is just as engaged maybe it's not an issue but if he's doing it with dogs that don't want to play I think you really need to do something about it.

LetThereBeCupcakes Fri 19-Oct-12 18:08:25

Both of my labs are neck-biters, but only do it to the few dogs they know well. If you're worried about other owners / dogs I would interrupt the play for a while if he gets too boisterous, but only for a few seconds before letting him go again (so long as the other owner is OK with it).

A word of caution though - my boy was biting the neck of my girl and managed to slip his jaw under her collar. All hell broke loose - thank God I was there and able to unclip her collar. I have heard of dogs being strangled / break a jaw doing this, so do be careful. I use quick-release collars on mine now.

MothershipG Fri 19-Oct-12 18:19:49

Well done for being so alert to this! We know a few lovely lurchers and you are exactly right, it is very characteristic of how they play and can indeed look very alarming, especially if you are not familiar with lurchers.

As with any dog it is up to you to make sure that your dog isn't alarming the people or dogs he meets, so you are right to interrupt this type of play unless you have the permission of the owner. It's not really up to you to read another dog's body language, I really would err on the side of caution with this one.

My little dogs wish more owners were as thoughtful as you when it comes to different styles of play!

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