Ever wonder if dogs are playing or fighting? This video from Dog Knowledge spells it out with great footage and sensible suggestions–especially regarding CONSENT.
If two dogs are wrestling and one is aways on the top, is the one on the bottom laughing it up or begging for mercy? Do a consent test. Remove the top dog (call or lure her away) and see if the other runs right back for more, or makes a hasty getaway. What about a game of chase? It’s only a game if it’s fun for both the chaser AND the chased. Some dogs seem to feel bullied or hunted when chased; others relish it. How to tell? Give the chaser a quick timeout. Does the other dog make a beeline to safety, or act like you’re the bad guy for messing up the game?
Calling a dog out of play can be a challenge, so it requires a lot of practice and high value rewards (meatballs, hot dogs, etc.–just be sure to avoid fights over food!) An alternative is to have the dogs on harnesses and have them drag a long lightweight lead or rope so you can snag it and slow them down. Be sure to attach it to the harness, not the collar, to prevent excessive pressure on the neck.
And remember: mature, well-matched play partners regulate themselves by taking short breaks and switching between vigorous and lower intensity activities. Puppies (under 6 months) and adolescent dogs (6 months to ~2 years) may need our help to keep the lid on things. Regular interruptions (a minute or two) will restore calm and keep arousal in check.
Mixed breed dogs are just that–dogs made up of a mix of breeds. Which breeds? You can’t tell by looking; 99% of a dog’s DNA codes for traits other than physical appearance. Does it really matter anyway? Each dog is an individual, the result of a sublime alchemy of genes, life experience, socialization, even prenatal influences. Better answers to the question, What kind of dog is that? “A happy dog.” “A smart dog.” “A playful dog.” “A laid back dog.” “A one of a kind dog.” “MY dog.” #AllDogsAreIndividuals
Maybe YOU know the vacuum cleaner, dark sunglasses, or rumble of thunder are nothing to be afraid of, but try telling that to your dog. You might think she’ll just get used to it and get over it…and she might. Or, she might get more and more freaked out with each encounter. How to know, and what to do? See Dr. Jen’s Dog Blog for the full article and much more.
When a baby becomes mobile, mom & dad are proud and enchanted. Meanwhile, the family dog is in for a wild ride. Be sure to supervise actively and know when your dog needs a safe haven for chilling out.