HOW TO PLAY SAFELY WITH YOUR DOG
Why do dogs play? For thousands of years dogs have used healthy, active play to explore their world and learn important socialization and communication skills. Since we’ve invited them into our homes to coexist with us as bona fide family members (and insist they observe our house rules), active playtime still satisfies important needs:
In short, safe, healthy play endears our dogs to us and helps keep these fully domesticated companion animals from becoming neurotic or developing other undesirable behaviors.
General Rules for Safe Dog Play
Playtime should be joyous time. Special rules should be observed whenever children are present to avoid unintentional injuries with dire consequences. But these basic guidelines will keep things on the up and up between you (and others) and your dog during active play situations:
How to Stop Dogs from Aggression During Play
Rough play between dogs is typical. You may have observed play-biting, lunging, hip-checking, swiping, and even barking during active dog-to-dog play, but it is usually relatively gentle and friendly. When a dog yelps or shows signs of damage, things have taken a turn for the worse and it is time to intervene.
Nip things in the bud. Know your own dog’s body language before playing becomes fighting: low-pitched growling and showing the teeth are precursors to an act of aggression. Supervise your dog closely during active play with other dogs, and particularly between a large and small dog. When rough play gets out of hand between dogs, or between you and your dog, game over. This clearly tells the dog his behavior ended his playtime.
And things should never escalate to the point of injury during play between a dog and his human or a child.
A note about children: No rough play should ever be undertaken in a household where children are present, whether your own children or someone else’s. A dog can’t discriminate between you and a child. If he plays rough with you, so will he with children, with potentially dire consequences. Tossing a ball or playing hide-and-seek are more appropriate games for kids and dogs.
Observing these guidelines will help foster a safe play environment with your dog; safe play helps train him, and gives him meaningful boundaries and the security of knowing his place in the pack order. And healthy game play will help keep him happily active and mentally engaged for life.
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