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My dog seems to play rough. She is just playing but how rough is too rough?

(18 Posts)
bryte Thu 07-Feb-13 11:49:46

She's 3. She's fairly new to us, so I've not let her off lead in many places, nor with many other dogs around. But she's been off lead a few times with a friend's dog or a dog whose owner did not seem to mind. My dog is very vocal when she plays, play-growling, but she jumps up at the other dogs and rams them and mouths them. The other dog kept play bowing at my dog, so I assume wanted to keep playing in this way, but it looks very rough to me and I'd be afraid of her playing in this way with a smaller dog.

What do I do? I'm apprehensive to let her off lead with other dogs around? Is there a way to train her to dampen down her playing style?

GoSuckEggs Thu 07-Feb-13 11:58:30

I personally do not mind another dog playing rough with my dog. He will soon tell them when it is too much.
Some dogs LOVE rough play and to other people it can sound like a war is gonig to break out!

GoSuckEggs Thu 07-Feb-13 11:59:11

Others dogs are usually the best trainers for dogs!

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 07-Feb-13 12:07:35

My (small) puppy plays rough too and usually prefers the biggest dogs he can find.

At puppy class the trainer said this wasn't a problem unless it is the only way they can play. Mine is very over the top still I'm sorry to say so has to have his doggy interactions screened and cleared!

bryte Thu 07-Feb-13 12:28:52

This is the only way I have seen her play. It looks very one-sided from my novice viewpoint.

vjg13 Thu 07-Feb-13 12:42:43

One of my Lurchers does this, he is big and very fast but the moment a dog 'tells' him to stop he does and can be chased off by a very tiny dog!

At the moment he has a leg strain but usually I only let him play like this with dogs and owners we know. It can look rough but his dog pals always come back for more.

OwlLady Thu 07-Feb-13 12:42:57

It sounds completely normal. If another dog is not keen they will generally tell your dog to piss off in dog language. They also, ime, tend to stop rough playing so much as they get older and better trained but you know, it's nice for them to rough play if that is what they both want to partake in. I have two dogs and they have a good rough play at least once a day. We call it the mad half hour

OwlLady Thu 07-Feb-13 12:44:08

and yes vjg13 is right, my older dog will tell younger dog no and she will stop immediately and by no she doesn't attack, it's behavioural - hard to explain. I am not articulate enough blush

Marne Thu 07-Feb-13 13:00:12

Sounds just like my dog, i do worry as she is very powerfull (she's a srtaffie so is solid). I keep her on the lead now as some people dont like it.

UterusUterusGhali Sun 10-Feb-13 01:52:57

I do tend to keep my Staff on a lead till I get the measure of the owner or dog. Most dogs are self regulating off lead though. They're soon put in place. Once they've come across a lairy JRT they learn their place.

Agree it's much harder with an older, new dog.

rtc8608 Mon 11-Feb-13 17:56:13

I can usually tell with mine when it gets too much - if one squeals and the other doesn't stop I will intervene.

They do play rough and most of the time both of them enjoy this type of play. It does depend on the dog and they will make it known if they are not happy.

I have problems when mine are with other dogs as they are so used to playing rough between them. Usually you can tell if another dog isn't happy - they will turn their back, submit or bark/growl/nip.

bryte Sat 09-Mar-13 11:09:31

We'd been doing really well until today. Normally DH takes her for an offlead run about. Last few times I've done it I've encountered lovely dog owners who have registered my apprehension and kindly reassured me my dog is lovely and just doing what dogs do. This morning she was playing offlead with one dog and ignoring another dog that was on lead, when another dog and owner came into the park. The other owner started to flap instantly about my dog approaching her dog at speed. After a few times of my dog running away and then back to her dog, she shouted at me "Do you want to put THAT on a lead"

I'm feeling deflated as a result. sad I can see both points of view. People with knowledge of dog behaviour seem to find my dog normal and okay. Other people feel overwhelmed by her speed and hecticness and barking. It must be a bit bothersome having my dog keep running up to yours at the speed of a train! Still, no need for someone to speak so rudely. Now I'm at a loss as to whether I should let her off lead or not. Being a lurcher, we can only let her offlead in fairly small enclosed parks. Otherwise I'd take her out into the countryside.

bryte Sat 09-Mar-13 11:10:53

I should have made it clearer. Nasty dog owners dog was off lead. I always take my dog away from other dogs onlead and my dog tends not to be interested in them anyway. She just wants to join in running with other dogs.

Pizdets Sat 09-Mar-13 12:13:19

Bryte, I'm afraid my dog would struggle with yours. He's only 6 months and small and quite nervy. I tend to let him off-lead in the park unless I see another dog on a lead, in which case I put him back on asap (to protect him and because I think it's good manners).

However quite a few people we meet out have larger dogs whose idea of play is quite you said, hareing up to my small dog from a distance and mouthing/barking/rolling him over.

To be honest, it's not the dogs' behavior that bothers me so much as the owners. My little pup is very quickly submissive, rolling over and yelping, but I got very upset when we came across 3 owners with dogs like this in one walk who just carried on and ignored it. I try very hard to allow him to play and let him learn to deal with it himself, and I'm aware as I'm a woman out with a small dog that many of the men probably think I'm just being precious, but I do think if your dog is scaring or upsetting another to that extent, you should intervene. A couple of times recently I can't get to my puppy as the other dog has 'herded' him away from me, which is frustrating. I don't want to have to keep him on the lead or react when I see a big dog because I worry my own reaction will make him more afraid and nervous in general.

Sorry, bit of a rant and it sounds like you're being very considerate of how other dogs are responding so not aimed at you! I don't mind other dogs running up to my puppy but I do want their owners to call them off when he's clearly not happy to keep playing, if that makes sense!


paddythepooch Sat 09-Mar-13 14:42:03

Hi. I saw your post and wondered if your dog was a lurcher. Mine is too and I know what this feels like. Lots of lurchers seem to love to play rough and combined with speed that can seem terrifying to other owners, particularly of smaller dogs.

You're clearly very aware so that's a great start. Have a read up about dog body language and that will help you read both your and other dogs better. Most dogs are actually amazingly sophisticated at telling each other whether they want to play or not. It's fascinating and helps you understand that what seems scary to us is really just play. I firmly believe that it's important to let dogs play as it teaches them doggie manners.

That said, it is awful when another owner has a go. So I tend to pop pooch on lead if there is a small dog around unless it is one of his pals. Plus I always try and suss out the owner. Ime it is often the owners rather than their dogs that are uncomfy so you have to watch both.

Work on her recall so you can call her away from dogs before they play starts if needs be. Once it's started you are wasting your breath and may need to grab her.

Btw staffie owners are invariably really relaxed and v pleased to have another dog play with theirs if their dog is ok with other dogs. It's early days and your confidence in your dog will grow. That helps too. Good luck

tabulahrasa Sat 09-Mar-13 14:54:39

I agree that it's the owners that you need to pay attention to really, unless there's a size difference.

Think of them like children in the park, you've got the boisterous toddler who wants to charge up to other children and play one of those games where they run round shouting... Lots of other toddlers will be up for that, some won't but they're easy to spot. Some of the ones who would have parents who don't want them to. So you keep your toddler beside you till you work out if it's ok for them to try and play.

It's exactly like that, but with dogs.

bryte Sun 10-Mar-13 09:27:04

Thanks for your messages everyone. Piz, thanks for sharing your perspective too. Oddly, my dog doesn't seem to take much notice of little dogs. She goes up to them curiously, and acts more gentle. I don't think she'd experienced many small dogs before we rescued her.

It is mostly big dogs that she is trying to coax into play.She likes to run up to and around with other dogs when they are running. For instance, an owner will throw a ball for their lab and my dog will clock that dog when it starts chasing the ball. My dog thinks, hey, great, you're running, let's play manic running around together. If a dog is standing still or just sniffing around, my lurcher's not interested.

I should add that between the writing of my first post and my 2nd post, our dog has been getting better. She's not since rammed or jumped up onto another dog like she did with a friend's lurcher, which prompted my first post. She doesn't do the play growling either, but does bark consistently as she is running alongside another dog, which I guess is what puts other owners off. That and her speed and sheer energy! It's hard because she IS learning from other dogs, but that can only happen if the other owners are happy to put their dog in that situation. We're in the process of signing up to training classes, and going to have a few 1:1s first with a trainer first.

I'll continue to work on recall and brush up on dog body language. I do tend to wander over to any owners if my dog bounds up to their dog and ascertain if the dog/owner is unhappy about my dog's play. Yesterday the other dog was a lab/cross, bigger than my small lurcher and the owner seemed to take a dislike to my dog the instant it went near her. She was the sort of woman you would not want to get into an argument with!

tabulahrasa Sun 10-Mar-13 10:30:16

I've always found that you get some owners who just don't like their dogs playing... I don't know if it worries them because they can't tell if their dog is enjoying it, or they're just slightly nervous about dogs in general?

I don't mean people who would let their dogs play under different circumstances but have a reason for not wanting their dog to play - because they usually tell you. (unless I live somewhere with particularly chatty owners) or people with on lead dogs obviously.

Just that some people seem to not like it.

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