Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)
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Thread: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

  1. #1
    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultLearning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    I'm trying to learn to read dog body language. Here is one scenario:

    I brought Rocky and Jake (my foster) to the dog park a few times. They didn't pay too much attention to each other. But if Rocky started to play with another dog Jake was after him in an instant. I took it to mean "hey you, play with me". And Rocky would cooperate and play (ok so he didn't have too much of a choice) and the other dogs are soon forgotten.

    Now I use the term play - and this is what i am trying to understand. Everyone at the park stops to stare at the boys with a look of worry. Rocky plays rough. Jumps on the dog, "bites" at them (never puncturing), deep growls, well you get the picture. I know my boy, this is his play style (I wish it wasn't) Jake is the same way, so they really build on each other's energy

    Body language: tails are wagging abit above body level. No hackles. They are hard to break up, which I do because there are other dogs and at this level of adrenaline things can go bad fast - if it's just the two of them I let them at it for longer.

    My question - how does one know when it's "just play" and when one of the parties has had enough and it's about to get bad.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    DefaultRe: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    Zoe and Dutch play rough like that. It's usually Dutch that wants to quit...and he lets her know it...she'll come back and try to get him to go again and he'll give her a stern bark that's not his usually bitey face play bark. She gets his message. And Dutch does the same when Zoe goes to play with another dog such as the foster being here. He can't stand her playing with Chavine. He'll bark to get them to stop as if he's saying "Play with me not her, ya here me!"

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    How I always determined whether both were having fun... seperate them, get them a distance apart, then release them again. What do they do? Does one wander off, sniffing? Do they beeline back together? (Good, let them play) Or does one beeline while the other ignores? (seperate them, and give them both something else to do.


    I'm a big advocate of frequent time outs, especially for really rough players. A moment or two of interaction with you, a joint down stay, or other obedience work, helps difuse any tension.

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    Paddysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    Having several breeds in my home it's a really interesting "read".

    Breed to breed (lab to lab, beagle to beagle) intervention is never required. A sharp verbal correction will knock off anything I feel is over the top.

    Throw the border collie and the Lhasa into the dispute? It can be a snarly, scary mess. I do my own correction method, directed toward all but the Lhasa. That loving little snip takes orders from NO ONE.


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    Joey is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    The whole body language thing is something that I'm really interested in as well. When we go to our puppy play time group, I have asked the trainer to help me figure out what some of the signs are, but as she said, it is sometimes so quick and you get better at it with time. That is all great, but I want to make sure when Cooper is playing with another dog that they are really playing and it isn't aggression.

    I'm even a little more worried about it now because my neighbour across the road has a lab who is almost a year and we are now letting the dogs get together during her lunch break 3 times a week. He was here today and I could tell that Cooper was being a bit annoying to him, so I would pause the game for a few seconds and then let them continue. The other lab always kept playing so I assumed it was okay.

    Does anyone know of any videos or something that actually shows dogs interacting and someone pointing out stuff to look for???

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    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    Brenda Aloff has a marvelous photographic guide to canine body language.. only drawback are the black/white photos sometimes don't show detail very well, and the book is badly edited, but it is still an invaluable resource.

    Dogwise has a number of DVD's on body language - http://www.dogwise.com/Browse/SubCat...ody%20Language - I've heard good things about these ones: DOG MEETS DOG SEMINAR DVD by, Trish King; DOG TALK - UNDERSTANDING CANINE BODY LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION SEMINAR DVD SET by Donna Duford; and THE LANGUAGE OF DOGS - UNDERSTANDING CANINE BODY LANGUAGE AND OTHER COMMUNICATION SIGNALS DVD SET by Sarah Kalnajs

    and there's also a short clip here, that shows how fast things can go badly: (although I don't agree with the announcer, about which dog is being rude...) http://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/misstep



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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    Quote Originally Posted by kaytris
    and there's also a short clip here, that shows how fast things can go badly: (although I don't agree with the announcer, about which dog is being rude...) http://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/misstep


    It is terrifying how quickly things can just explode.


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    mitziandjudysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    Mitzi won't play with anyone but Judy, one on one when the boys are away in the other yard. Judy, Duke and Bruno are rough players, especially the boys. I see the "don't play with him, play with me" among them all the time. Outside running bitey face can really look rough and one wonders how they don't hurt each other, but they don't. Hackles up are no indication that it's not just play. Hackles go up when they are excited having fun. (Some dogs hackle up more than others like some people blush and some don't.) The best way I tell when play is evolving to fighting is by listening to the growls; when it gets to be constant growls at a lower tone, increasing in volume, I break it up. They all know to obey "NO fighting".

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    DefaultRe: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    Kaytris:
    Both posts here are very helpful, especially liked the link to the video. Intrested in hearing your thought as to what caused the increased agitation by the one dog, you wrote that you disagreed w/ the announcer. What's your take?

    Doug

  12. #10
    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Learning to Read Dog body language (rough play)

    Okay, most of the time when two stranger dogs meet, they will circle, sniff, and break apart, going their seperate ways.

    What I see here is the initial sniff-greeting, then the tall, short haired dog decides to push things - he freezes, turns slightly and rests his head on the shaggy collie's back. THIS is extremely rude, equivalent to a belligerent drunk punching his finger in your chest "hey, buddy, watchOO looking at". The shaggy collie freezes, averts his eyes and attempts to walk out of the situation - not good enough, he should have apologized to the drunk first (shown more overt submission, lowering head/body, licking lips, flattening down.)

    But the rude instigator is the tall shorthaired dog, throwing his weight around unnecessarily.

    If I saw this occuring at the dogpark, I would have stepped between the two dogs when the shorthaired dog initially froze - assuming I knew the dogs well.. if they were unknown to me, I moved in, clapped my hands and tried to distract the short haired dog away from the shaggy collie. (And I would have asked the parents of the small child to keep her away from the dogs, for pete's sake..)

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