When is Puppy Play TOO Rough?
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Thread: When is Puppy Play TOO Rough?

  1. #1
    hellosusieqz is offline Member
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    DefaultWhen is Puppy Play TOO Rough?

    Hey guys!

    I am here yet again with another puppy question. I cannot wait to be a lab vet like all of you

    So we recently took in Bentley's sister, Romy. They absolutely love each other, and they most definitely love to play and run around in the backyard. They usually just chase each other or "mouth." They are 6 months old, so I know that they are starting to get into that "rough play" stage, where they are more vocal with growls and yips and snarls.

    They like to hop up on each other and bounce around while grabbing each other's cheeks and ears. Sometimes I feel like they are hurting each other or it's getting too escalated and I'll break it up and distract each of them with a toy or something, just to be on the safe side.

    A week or so ago, I found a scab on Bentley's lower lip about a centimeter in diameter where it looked like some hair had been pulled out. I figured maybe Romy caught him at the right spot and he just got nipped a little. But today, I noticed Romy had a fresh little wound on her cheek. And I have noticed tiny little scabs on their ears occasionally. So now I am very concerned that the play is getting TOO rough...

    They have no aggression or hostility towards each other otherwise, they love to lay with each other or chew on bones together. They love exploring the backyard together and sleep near each other at night time. They are obviously very fond of each other, so I definitely don't think they are intentionally trying to hurt each other. As far as their body language goes while playing, they both have their tails up in the air wagging. Sometimes one of them will have their hair sticking up on their back, but their tail is still wagging and they are still bouncing around and playing like it's no big deal. I am always always in the same vicinity when they are playing, so if I hear one of them getting more riled up than the other (or if I hear one whining instead of the typical play talk), I break it up. And then they just trot around with their tails wagging, or sometimes they go back to playing.

    Like I said, I don't think they are trying to hurt each other at all, especially since they still love being around each other. But is this something I should be concerned about and watch closely or is it something they both need to work out amongst themselves?

    Here's a little video sampling I took on my phone. I apologize for the distance. I was indoors while they were outdoors because they stop playing if I get too close, haha. But you'll see in the video how one will latch onto the other's face, and kind of throw each other around. In this sample, Romy had Bentley pinned, but it goes both ways


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    zonapups's Avatar
    zonapups is offline Senior Member
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    My two play the same way...sometimes it sooo bad that they move the couch several feet. I always wait until there is TOO MUCH crying then we break it up. That only happened once and they went back to play fighting again. I otherwise steer clear as they are getting big enough that they will surely knock me over one of these times.

    I think you will know when they crossed the line on play fighting.

    Leo and Zoey - born 4/21/12. The loves of my life (other than the hubby)

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    Sophiesmama is offline Senior Member
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    Our Sophie plays this way with my nephew's pit puppy and my son's boxer... sometimes it looks like they are hurting one another, but so far I haven't found it to be serious. Your video looks like they are enjoying each other! It's pretty cute! I wouldn't worry too much about it, as long as both seem to be playing and not angered. I kind of doubt they would get angry, labbies rarely show anger when playing. Since both dogs are about the same size, they should be fine. I would just observe....from a safe distance....unless you want to end up on the ground!
    ~Pam



    Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo


    8.5 mo.

    Sophie 15 months, with Skye

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    hellosusieqz is offline Member
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    Thanks guys!! They definitely seem very happy when they are playing like that. I just get scared that they're hurting each other, especially since blood has been drawn a couple times, but I'm starting to learn that maybe that's just a normal part of puppies growing up together! I guess I'm just an over-protective mama

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    smokey is offline Senior Member
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    I think it is good for them! I know after a play date when mine can get that rough he sleeps hard! I have two dogs and while my older dog is hyper and playful she is tiny and so much faster than my lab puppy it isn't the same kind of "wrestling match" more like her saying "chase me" and him getting bored of it. Cute puppies!
    Smokey 4/25/2012

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    hellosusieqz is offline Member
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    Definitely! I just hope they learn soon that they can't keep biting so hard and pulling. I'm scared they are really going to accidentally hurt each other one of these days, haha. Maybe I can give them toys to grab onto and play with instead of each other's ears and face??

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    Diesel_Dawg is offline Senior Member
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    Looks like normal puppy play to me! I wouldn't step in & break it up, even if you hear a whimper or two they are bound to hurt each other a little - nips, scrapes, etc. They may have some minor battle wounds, and definitely still supervise *in case* it gets out of hand, but unless there is aggression -- which there was none in the video -- I'd leave them be.

    Diesel's friend Callie nips his face all the time, Diesel is not too fond of it & didn't know how to react at first because she is sooo fast he can never nip her face, but he just discovered while she's biting his face he can lean down and bite her legs, lol.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    That's pretty normal play. Mine (almost 4 and 6) still play rough like that - Diesel will grab Blaise by the scruff of the neck and drag him around the room. They also get very snarly with each other too - but almost always a snort follows the snarl. The snort (blowing air out the nose) is an appeasing "just kidding - we're still friends" communication.

    They snort in sequence. Then the rough play starts again.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    The noises mine make sound horrible BUT unless it appears to really get out of hand I let it go. Emma normally breaks it up on her.own by getting up on the couch or bed. Let them play, they are usually pretty good at self regulating but be prepared to step in if necessay!
    Tammy
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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    slackercodemonkey is offline Senior Member
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    Like everyone else pretty much said it sounds and looks like normal play. If you have doubts there is a simple test. Take one dog away from the other (maybe have someone else hold the other dog). If that dog runs backs to the other dog and initiates play then it is fine. Do that with both dogs and you will know if they both have their heart into playing.

    The more you let your dogs play like that the better they will be able to control the amount of force they use when they mouth/bite (bite inhibition). This is extremely important for dogs to learn.

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