Playing going too far?

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Mark
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Playing going too far?

Post by Mark »

Perhaps this is normal doggy play, but it made me a bit uneasy, and Monty didn't look too happy with this either.

Monty and Suzy started playing this evening- chests to the ground, tails wagging, etc..

Then, suddenly Suzy jumped up from underneath, and put Monty's entire throat in her mouth. She didn't chomp down, but Monty stood straight up, and looked a bit uneasy. Suzy let go, went back down into the play stance, and did it again- "biting" Monty's throat, but not biting down (if that makes sense). Her tail was wagging this whole time, but Monty soon had no interest in continuing play, and uneasily walked away.

Is this "normal" doggy play, or was Suzy taking it a bit too far?
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Alifaire
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Re: Playing going too far?

Post by Alifaire »

Victor and his Lab girlfriend play like that all the time. She met Victor when she was just 8 weeks old and he has always kept her in line. She is VERY good at reading other dog's behaviors and knows when to play and when to back off. The Lab is one of the few dogs that I have no concern about when playing with Victor. Victor can get very verbal and sometimes rough. The Lab will tell him off when needed also.

Hope it goes well with Monty and Suzy.
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rtropeano
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Re: Playing going too far?

Post by rtropeano »

Mark, it's hard to tell without seeing a video, but trust your gut. If Monty got up and walked away, he was obviously uncomfortable with that level/type of playing or had just had enough for the time being.

Also, not sure if Suzy's tail wagging was a happy wag - if you know what I mean.

One way to keep play under control is to interrupt often. (it's good practice for recall too). If they are playing for a while, call them over...reward, praise, whatever and let them go. If they keep playing, probably safe to say that they are enjoying it - if one walks away....maybe not so much.

I'd love to see video footage - I've been studying canine behavior and body language and specifically dogs playing at dog parks for some time now so, this kind of thing always interests me ;)

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Mark
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Re: Playing going too far?

Post by Mark »

rtropeano wrote: Also, not sure if Suzy's tail wagging was a happy wag - if you know what I mean.
Well, I am pretty sure it was a happy tail wag, as it was accompanied with the chest to the floor, and the barks with the front paws bouncing off the floor (that VERY clear play stance). It was more Monty's "WHAT IS THIS?!?!" reaction that got me thinking (During the "bites" he just stood tall, and gave that whale-eye look).
I'd love to see video footage - I've been studying canine behavior and body language and specifically dogs playing at dog parks for some time now so, this kind of thing always interests me ;)
I'll try to get some video next time.
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Barb Wright
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Re: Playing going too far?

Post by Barb Wright »

It is just play....Suzy is exercising bite control, not hurting Monty. That said, Monty seems to not like that part and he did what he should, walk away. Walking away is a calming signal, a good one, and Suzy will catch on pretty fast that if she does that particular thing Monty will end the play period. They will work it out. If it bothers you, then what Rose suggested works fine, just interrupt them to do something else. I really wouldn't worry about this escalating.....some dogs play a little rougher than others, and they make their accomodations.

Suzy wouldn't be doing this if she wasn't getting comfortable with you all, and with Monty. But Monty will let her know what he likes and doesn't like.....and if Suzy just happens to be the more dominant one, well, Monty will just be cool and continue to "change his venue" :)

My take.....would like to see the video though, just to be sure :)
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Lisa
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Re: Playing going too far?

Post by Lisa »

Honestly, it sounds like perfectly normal play to me. However, if Monty hasn't been exposed to this kind of play, then it may make him uncomfortable. If he walks away and Suzy lets him, then I wouldn't worry about it...they'll figure it out and either Suzy will stop doing it, or Monty will learn that it's just play. If Suzy won't leave him alone, you can separate them if you feel the need or give Monty an easy escape route when he feels he's had enough.

Videos of some of my guys playing rough:
The neck biting stuff happens at around the 45 second mark in this one: http://s52.photobucket.com/albums/g23/s ... -35-15.mp4
Lots of tail pulling action here: http://s52.photobucket.com/albums/g23/s ... -41-28.mp4
Video quality's not great, but some rough play in the snow: http://s52.photobucket.com/albums/g23/s ... 111129.mp4
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