Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....
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Thread: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

  1. #1
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    DefaultAnother Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    I believe, and have seen, that it's true: "aggression begets aggression".
    For this reason, certain things are strictly forbidden in my home when it comes to our pets. Because I don't want any animal in our home to ever feel like they have to protect or fight for their food or toys, I am adament about anyone in my house not taking food or toys out of Rocket's mouth. (exception - I do use a command when I want him to give up something he has in his mouth).

    So what do y'all think about when my son and Rocket are playing keep away with each other and a toy. Aaron was doing it last night when I walked into the living room, and I could tell Rocket was really having fun. I watched for a while before making them stop, but never saw Rocket get aggressive. As a matter of fact, even though he had his mouth open and was jumping all around and trying to get the toy from Aaron, he never bit Aaron.
    Also, after a bit, I told Aaron to let Rocket have the toy, then I watched the two reverse roles. Rocket's tail was wagging the whole time he ran around trying to keep away from Aaron.

    I'm extremely paranoid about Aaron being injured. I know that even the most innocent incident could result in something very serious - like his eyeball being put out. seriously.

    what do y'all say? am I over-reacting?

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  3. #2
    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    I feel that it's very important that one should be able to take a toy or food out of a dog's mouth anytime, for any reason, and this extends to children as well as adults. Of course, you need to teach your kids not to harass the dog or to tease him, but they should be able to take something away without incident if the need arises.

    The way to train this is to train a solid "out" or "drop," and when the dog complies to *give the toy right back.* So the dog learns that this is a fun, rewarding game, not some kind of punishment. There should be no aggression involved. If any hints of resource guarding arise (such as low, sustained growling), then you have to start working on it right away. But I like to work on it in a game, and with rewards, to keep it from cropping up in the first place.

    How old is Aaron? It sounds like he and Rocket are really good buddies. If he's old enough and mature enough to understand not to tease or frustrate Rocket, then I see nothing wrong with tug and "chase me" games. The goal should be that Rocket gives up the toy when asked, and then gets it tossed for a rewarding fetch. And everybody wins.

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    DefaultRe: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    Yea, i don't see anything wrong with keep away. it's a fun game, and dogs pick up on the vibe you give off during the game if you are laughing and having fun.

    In fact in the "other end of the leash" she references(IIRC) that keep away is very common game for dogs to play with other dogs even. notice how when they get something they shouldn't have, they will hold their head high and prance across in front of you to get your attention, and to start a game of keepaway themselves. Mine routinely like to prance across the room with dishtowels, pot holders, couch pillows and trailing blankets... :

    as far as the eyeball thing... are you referring to an accident/incident caused by the dog? or just an accident while playing?

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    DefaultRe: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    Quote Originally Posted by theoconbrio
    How old is Aaron? It sounds like he and Rocket are really good buddies. If he's old enough and mature enough to understand not to tease or frustrate Rocket, then I see nothing wrong with tug and "chase me" games. The goal should be that Rocket gives up the toy when asked, and then gets it tossed for a rewarding fetch. And everybody wins.
    Aaron's six. And they are great buddies. However, Aaron doesn't know when to back down and I have to watch him very carefully because he does get rough. And he does cross the line with teasing, unfortunately.
    Fortunately, Rocket takes handles everything with Aaron really well, and has shown an understanding beyond his age towards Aaron in that Rocket's behaves amazingly appropriately.

    Your point about Rocket allowing all of us to take anything out of his mouth is an excellent one. He does let us, but I've been worried if we do it he will start getting mad and acting on it. Whenever I do it, I use the "drop it" command, and he complies. Aaron is too young and he's forgetful so he doesn't say it unless I remind him - but then again, the only time I ever see him try to take anything out of Rocket's mouth is when we're playing fetch or catch and Rocket won't let go of the ball for Aaron (or me). And, I've never seen Rocket growl or guard in any way - thank goodness.

    You've offered great advice and have confirmed some things for me. Thanks.

    By the way - when Rocket was young I taught him not to bite. To this day, when he has something in his mouth, once in a while I'll stick my fingers in his mouth behind what he's biting on, just to see what he'll do. Kind of like a pop-quiz. Everytime I do it, he opens his mouth and releases. He knows he is not to bite, I'm sure of it. So much so that whenver I put any part of my body in his mouth, he releases. I should probably test that with Aaron to see if he opts to play or release.

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    DefaultRe: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    Quote Originally Posted by DFWLab
    Yea, i don't see anything wrong with keep away. it's a fun game, and dogs pick up on the vibe you give off during the game if you are laughing and having fun.

    In fact in the "other end of the leash" she references(IIRC) that keep away is very common game for dogs to play with other dogs even. notice how when they get something they shouldn't have, they will hold their head high and prance across in front of you to get your attention, and to start a game of keepaway themselves. Mine routinely like to prance across the room with dishtowels, pot holders, couch pillows and trailing blankets... :
    Ooop, I've never thought about that. You know, Rocket's has never played that keep away game with "forbidden" objects (ie. a shoe) like you describe above. Now I'm wondering that if I were to ever allow Aaron to play it with him, will Rocket start picking up forbidden objects around the house and initiating keep-away. hhhmmmmm. food for thought.
    I see your point about the vibe, though.
    hhmmmmm

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    JacobAlthea&Tatum is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    It sounds like you've gotten some great advice. I just want to reinforce that Rocket needs to know that "drop it" means immediately ceasing his keep away behavior and giving up what ever it is that he has. He should respect this command from both you and your son.

    I'm Jenn. Keeper of two labs in my home and one forever in my heart.

    Throw the ball, damn it!

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    DefaultRe: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Momma to J and A
    It sounds like you've gotten some great advice. I just want to reinforce that Rocket needs to know that "drop it" means immediately ceasing his keep away behavior and giving up what ever it is that he has. He should respect this command from both you and your son.

    thanks!

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    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    Quote Originally Posted by mich
    Ooop, I've never thought about that. You know, Rocket's has never played that keep away game with "forbidden" objects (ie. a shoe) like you describe above. Now I'm wondering that if I were to ever allow Aaron to play it with him, will Rocket start picking up forbidden objects around the house and initiating keep-away. hhhmmmmm. food for thought.
    I see your point about the vibe, though.
    hhmmmmm
    That's why giving it back is really important. I never chase a dog who is playing "keep away," because I don't like playing that game, and because I feel like it gets in the way of the "retrieving" part of the equation. I should have been more explicit about that. But if your dog is amiable about the whole thing, and it certainly seems like Rocket is, there are ways you can play with toys that won't exacerbate the "keep-away" instinct.

    For example. Ask for the toy, run like hell in the other direction, and then let the dog chase you. And then as soon as the dog gets to you, throw the toy for him! You've just reinforced three desirable behaviors: dropping the toy, recall, and retrieving. This would be better than chasing the dog around while *he* plays keepaway.

    Make sense?

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    JacobAlthea&Tatum is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    Quote Originally Posted by theoconbrio
    Quote Originally Posted by mich
    Ooop, I've never thought about that. You know, Rocket's has never played that keep away game with "forbidden" objects (ie. a shoe) like you describe above. Now I'm wondering that if I were to ever allow Aaron to play it with him, will Rocket start picking up forbidden objects around the house and initiating keep-away. hhhmmmmm. food for thought.
    I see your point about the vibe, though.
    hhmmmmm
    That's why giving it back is really important. I never chase a dog who is playing "keep away," because I don't like playing that game, and because I feel like it gets in the way of the "retrieving" part of the equation. I should have been more explicit about that. But if your dog is amiable about the whole thing, and it certainly seems like Rocket is, there are ways you can play with toys that won't exacerbate the "keep-away" instinct.

    For example. Ask for the toy, run like hell in the other direction, and then let the dog chase you. And then as soon as the dog gets to you, throw the toy for him! You've just reinforced three desirable behaviors: dropping the toy, recall, and retrieving. This would be better than chasing the dog around while *he* plays keepaway.

    Make sense?
    I don't know Nathan...Jacob and I *love* to play keep away. He has the toy and I chase him around and make sure I never quite catch him. I exhibit clear body language (kind of like a human play bow) that lets Jacob know *game on*!

    The deal is, though, that the *second* say "sit" he sits, and when I say "drop it" he drops it. I think this game is helpful because when he does get contraband and has the urge to play keep away with it, he knows the commands and body language that tells him that I'm not playing around.

    Just my two cents.

    I'm Jenn. Keeper of two labs in my home and one forever in my heart.

    Throw the ball, damn it!

  12. #10
    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Another Q: Having to do with playing keep away with your dog.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Momma to J and A
    I don't know Nathan...Jacob and I *love* to play keep away. He has the toy and I chase him around and make sure I never quite catch him. I exhibit clear body language (kind of like a human play bow) that lets Jacob know *game on*!

    The deal is, though, that the *second* say "sit" he sits, and when I say "drop it" he drops it. I think this game is helpful because when he does get contraband and has the urge to play keep away with it, he knows the commands and body language that tells him that I'm not playing around.

    Just my two cents.
    I understand what you're saying. You guys can do the advanced practices precisely because you've laid a good foundation. In my case, it drives SU crazy that I wrestle on the ground with Theo and let him jump all over me, but I'm confident that he knows what "down" and "stay" are, and he doesn't seem to translate this to, say, little kids. I can stop the game anytime with a command, and if he doesn't listen, then it's game over. That seems to be the same thing you're saying.

    That said, I'm not sure I would necessarily recommend it, especially with a little kid who is not going to make the same kinds of fine discriminations. But if Rocket's commands stay solid and consistent, then I can't really argue against it, either.


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