When does Bitey Face go too far? On Tuesday, when my son came home from college, the lads got a bit competitive and seemed to be fighting. I broke it up by wacking them with my jacket and sent them outside. Since then their "play" outside seems a bit more aggressive than before, and Bo came in with a hole in his face and his head on Tuesday. It seems to be settling a bit since then, but I'm still wondering whether to discourage this.
How old and are the "lads" related? Neutered or intact? What kind of posturing was involved? Was the hair on their backs up? How fast were the behaviors happening?
In general (at least in my experience) there is an intensity difference between bitey face and aggression. With my kids (when my co-own comes over and there are two intact brothers) I can verbally break them apart, or just walk towards them and they will stop. That's play and bitey face.
When Kodi and Clover fought, (Kodi the aunt, Clover the niece) there was no mistake. I had to "hang" Clover (pull her off her feet and throw her back into the car) to get them apart.
Karen and the gang
BBI Kodi's Journey To Anotch (Journey)
BBI Kodi's Blackpowder Striker (Flint)
For mine, there is a distinctly different sound to it. Play snarling sounds very different than fight snarling.
If one of yours is winding up injured - I would say it has gone too far. Mine never hurt each other by playing bitey face. Dogs are very good at controlling the degree of bite they inflict. I very much doubt that what happened to your injured dog was accidental.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
When we brought Keegan home at 8 weeks she was not afraid of Sedona at all and started the bitey face, pulling so hard on her neck area that Sedona had a big cut area that took a long time to heal. Poor Sedona had scabs everywhere. I was told that was normal puppy play. Now Keegan is almost 6 months old and Sedona can get her neck and bite it, but she never does it hard enough to hurt her. Keegan is VERY loud with barking and growling and it sounds like they are killing each other. I can tell a difference in the pitch of the growl or bark from Sedona if things are getting a little too intense so sometimes will tell them enough and they stop. Sedona has a certain look and growl and Keegan knows when to leave her alone, although likes to bite at the base of Sedona's tail to try and interest her. I would say if injury occurs that is maybe a little more than bitey face. There has been a few times Sedona has held on a little too long to Keegan, but has never put a mark on her. Sedona was 95 lbs and is now 85 lbs and Keegan is maybe 45-48 lbs. She is going to be a much smaller lab than Sedona. Sometimes Sedona will pin Keegan down for a few seconds, not hurting her of course, just to show her who is boss. Like stated above I know the occasional yelps and when the pitch is different than normal. I have learned that Keegan will always try for the alpha female position, but I am pretty sure Sedona will always keep that spot. I love my girls so much and watching them go at it just makes me laugh sometimes, aggravates me at other times because they are so loud and then they cuddle and smooch and it just melts my heart.
Isn't it great to have a sister
They are 2-1/2 and 4-1/2, both neutered. I know the aggression went too far on Tuesday, just wonder whether I should discourage them from bitey face entirely. They always sound fierce when they play. Sometimes with hackles up. Usually it's tug-o-war with a ball, then it just gets to be bitey face.
Most of the time they're just best buds.
I think Bo got p-d off because Gus was trying to keep him away from my son when he came home (stupid reason, but ya know, dogs)
I think it's settled, but I'm still wary when they're playing bitey face.
When we brought Kate home she was relentless with Abby & Molly. hanging off their necks & biting their tails. Eventually as she got bigger Abby & Molly put her in her place with a growl or bark. They still play bitey face but I have never seen any markjs on anyone. if Kate & Abby get too wild I just say "knock it off." They know what that means & they stop.
There is only one alpha bitch in this house & it's me.
I don't know if you need to stop bitey face all together, but if I were you I would definitely make sure it doesn't escalate like that again.
As for the hackles being up, my trainer (who is a registered behaviourist) told me in the case of many dogs (Dozer included) the hackles are going up because of a lack of self-confidence (and unsureness of the situation, even if Dozer initiates the play, and it generally only happens with a "new" dog), so hackles up does not always mean aggression.
My 6 month old (Kimber) can drive my 6 year old (Tikka) nuts by the biting on the face and neck. It starts off as nibbling while Tikka sits there and takes it, but then Kimber will start clamping and pulling on her neck. Tikka then decides to tell her enough and they usually start to play. Sometimes though I have to intervene because Kimber usually pushes it a little too far with her biting. Tikka escalates it by nipping back and Kimber's jaws start to go...at Tikka and everything around her. You can literally hear them clamping when she does it. It's hilarious. Pretty soon they start to get a little too rough so I seperate them and make them calm down for a few seconds. They shouldn't be allowed to get that aggressive if you can intervene.
Hackles are often up when they are just playing or excited.
Imagine making a recording when they are playing bitey face. Then suddenly turn up the volume and speed on that recording: That's the point where it went too far.