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Discussion Starter #1
After class last night everyone let their dogs loose for a bit of a romp together. (totally fenced area) It's interesting to note the ways that different dogs play. There is a variety of breeds and sizes in our class. Dee immediately hooked up with another retriever type and pretty much ignored the rest of the dogs. I'm not sure if it was because he was the only one close to her size.... or if she remembered that she had played with him a couple of times last year. She gets VERY excited and seems to barely look where she's going when she's playing. I'm sure part of the reason is because she's an only dog and she doesn't get to play with other dogs on a daily basis. Also we are really careful with her as her hips aren't 100%. She is enthralled with ALL other dogs! Her doggy manners have improved somewhat, but she still kind of explodes into play. ::) She also doesn't seem to take it seriously if another dog growls at her. Anyway after the little play session everyone called their dogs and put their leashes on. Dee's recall is great IF she is on a long line, but she unfortunately is well aware that when OFF leash she doesn't HAVE TO come when she's called. We've been working on this for a long time, but honestly I'm not sure she'll ever be reliable on recall....especially if there is something else that interests her. With everyone's dog leashed she decided to be a clown and started jumping and splashing in a big water bowl....which she then proceeded to push around with her nose etc. while we unsuccessfully told her to COME. What seemed like ten minutes was probably only a minute or two, but frustrating all the same. She is still very much a puppy at 2 and a half. Anyway, (aside from the poor recall) I'm wondering if most of your dogs/Labs play this way? Caution to the wind so to speak! She totally adores other dogs (even the ones that growl at her ::)).
 

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I initiated a weekly play group among Labs (our Saturday LabFests, 2-3 PM) before Puff was a year old. We have as few as 3 and as many as 13 (once), depending on weather, time of year, etc.

Not sure if this is what you're asking for but the style of play I've noticed among our Labs (and one Golden we've let join as an honorary "Hippie" Lab with long hair) are these favorite games:

-- Lions chasing the fleeing Wildebeeste (AKA known as "greyhounds chasing the mechanical rabbit"). Puff takes the role of the Wildebeeste/rabbit and the other dogs are racing behind her as she cuts a great circle. Played more frequently in cool or cold weather.

-- "Take away, Keep away" One Lab picks up a toy, say a Training Dummy, and others try to get it. May also be played by first having an owner sling the TD to retrieve; many Labs go after it, one gets it, and then the "keep away, take away" begins. (Another variant of this is for a Lab holding the TD to keep it away from an owner trying to get it back. )

-- "Bitey Neck" (AKA "Bitey Face") One Lab chews on the other's neck often while standing with the other Lab on its back on the ground. Then they exchange positions. Usually a two Lab game but sometimes 3-4 can play if they don't mind settling for legs.

Those are the 3 games our Labs play over and over.
 
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My dog is 2 1/2 and I got her a year ago this coming Sunday. Her recall is spotty at best off a long line despite working on it so I can relate...she plays with retriever types no matter who is in the group. And what Bob describes is the typical games Labs play...bitey face/neck being a favorite...with takeaway/keepaway being a second favorite. Mine and her buddy Lacey are also fond of tackle ball...head-on collisions are common. It's true love.

They do play rough but I think that's why they tend toward each other in groups, because they know other retrievers understand where other breeds may not.
 

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As far as the growling is concerned it is probably just a play growl, you have to be aware of the other signals they are giving with there bodies. What is going on with the ears, tails, lips, and body posture when they are growling is very important. Oona has a serious play growl but its all bluster.
Olie
 

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Oh yeah, take away/keep away, just as Bob said...Tucker does this all the time to Sadie, our neighbor Golden. Sadie brings her ball with her, or a bone, and Tucker thinks it's his job to take it from her, and does. ::) She'll sometimes try to get it back, but often just waits him out, 'til he leaves it, then moves in to grab it again. :)

Bitey face, bitey neck, bitey leg, all. If some people saw how these 2 play, they'd probably be surprised blood wasn't running.

As Olie said, play growling too....as the dogs are down and goin' at it, Tucker's play growling. But in his case, it's sounds more like a pig grunting. :D

When Tucker and Molly, our boxer granddog play, Molly gives him low row-ee, row-ee's, or play growls...then Tucker starts growling too. It's not like pig grunting then, it's play growling; I think they keep it up to see who'll get the loudest, and quit first. ;D

But it's funny to watch how different he plays with the Golden, compared with the Boxer.
 

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Dexter's a battering ram. He'll run as fast as he can and crash into anything in his path (humans especially need to beware because the ground comes at you fast if you're not paying attention). ::)

He's also like an annoying kid. If he's playing with other dogs and they are laying down minding their own business, he'll go over, poke them with his nose, then jump back and see their reactions. Poke. Poke. Poke. So annoying!

BiteyFace and growly, whiny, growly is definitely a favorite.
 

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Bob Pr. said:
-- Lions chasing the fleeing Wildebeeste (AKA known as "greyhounds chasing the mechanical rabbit"). Puff takes the role of the Wildebeeste/rabbit and the other dogs are racing behind her as she cuts a great circle. Played more frequently in cool or cold weather.

-- "Take away, Keep away" One Lab picks up a toy, say a Training Dummy, and others try to get it. May also be played by first having an owner sling the TD to retrieve; many Labs go after it, one gets it, and then the "keep away, take away" begins. (Another variant of this is for a Lab holding the TD to keep it away from an owner trying to get it back. )

-- "Bitey Neck" (AKA "Bitey Face") One Lab chews on the other's neck often while standing with the other Lab on its back on the ground. Then they exchange positions. Usually a two Lab game but sometimes 3-4 can play if they don't mind settling for legs.

Those are the 3 games our Labs play over and over.
These are exactly the games that I have seen Sam play with his trainer's dogs over and over this spring. Interesting that they play the SAME games!

Frances
 

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A battering ram....Sara you hit the nail on the head!

Tucker puts his head down, and just rams Sadie, pushing her body across the yard; he just keeps pushing, with his head down. It reminds of of those football players, that run and push against the equipment, moving it back (whatever they call it). That's exactly what he does.

I've worried she might get hurt, but she just gets up and they go at it again. ::)
 

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Those games are played here too! Bitey face/neck is the preferred game by both. Boo loves keep away but Rush gets bored with it pretty quickly. Boo will run like the wind and ram into poor Rush who then starts a renewed game of bitey face only extremely loud. The whines and noises she makes almost sound like she's trying to talk Chinese. We try to stay well out of the way of those two, having been involved in bitey face one time too many with bruises to prove it! ;D
 

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My beloved Bess used to like to play "bowling for people."

She liked to run at people from behind and chop block them. :eek: :eek: :eek:

We got Bess when she was 5 weeks old and she missed out on learning to socialize with other dogs. As a matter of fact, I doubt that Bess ever realized she was a dog. She never wanted to play with them -- just with people.

It's such a delight to see dogs play with each other !! We love it every Saturday.
 
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oooh I forgot about the battering ram and the bitey leg. We call bitey leg "chicken leggin". Like chewing on a leg of chicken. Billie will drag Lacey around like that and then Lacey will do to Billie.

The battering ram was hilarious when Lacey was smaller than Billie. Now they're about the same size and Billie just ends up with Lacey on top of her head until Lacey kicks her way off. ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all your responses. Labs certainly have their own way of doing things. LOL

Bob - I love your descriptions. I guess those games are universal with Labs.

If it's a dog your dog has never played with before does your dog feel the situation out before bounding in to instigate play? Dee never growls and when another dog growls at her (not a play growl) she doesn't seem to heed the hint.

Do your dogs adjust their mode of play depending on the size of their playmate?
 

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Top Of The Hill said:
Thanks for all your responses. Labs certainly have their own way of doing things. LOL

Bob - I love your descriptions. I guess those games are universal with Labs.

If it's a dog your dog has never played with before does your dog feel the situation out before bounding in to instigate play? Dee never growls and when another dog growls at her (not a play growl) she doesn't seem to heed the hint.

Do your dogs adjust their mode of play depending on the size of their playmate?
With mine, when he's around a new dog, he'll do the straight stance at first, then just start playing with them. I think Tucker's like your Dee...if a dog growled at him, he'd still try to play.

And once in awhile, he has adjusted his mode of play depending on the size of the other dog, but normally...he's just a big goofus and slaps his paws all over 'em, and starts right in playin'. :)
 

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Puff is a demure girl and doesn't often solicit another Lab to play with her.

She never needs to.

She apparently exudes some pheromones that attract most other Labs to her so almost all Labs want to play with Puff.

But amongst that all, Puff does have her favorites.

Although when there's only one other Lab, that Lab becomes her one especial favorite.

"When I'm not near the Lab I love, I love the Lab I'm near...."
 

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Again its not just the growling that is important its a combination of everything they are doing. Oona has been attacked twice by dogs and both times the other dog never made a sound.
Olie
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Oonas Dad said:
Again its not just the growling that is important its a combination of everything they are doing. Oona has been attacked twice by dogs and both times the other dog never made a sound.
Olie
Yes, I know. Dee has been attacked three times now by the same dog at class of all places (nothing at all serious because there were a dozen people around to grab the dog before he could do anything). The older lady that owns this dog has trouble holding onto him when he bolts. For some reason this dog has a dislike for Dee and a couple of other dogs in class that I know of, but he seems fine with the majority. It's a puzzle. Anyway he never made a sound prior to pouncing, but it you're watching (which I always am now if he's there) his eyes are glued to her in a very intense stare. Despite this I would be willing to bet that Dee still thinks he wants to play and he just plays rough. ::) I wish she was more cautious, but I really don't think it occurs to her that anyone wants to do anything other than play. :-\
 
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Laika always play with the male Labrador's 8)



Because, if it's a female Labrador, the dominant problem is comming to take a look (Laika is verry dominant against other female Labradors ;)

But if she play's it is always the hard way :-X
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Surprisingly (with the popularity of Labs) Dee doesn't really have any Labby friends....and no Labs in our class either. She has a Golden friend and they play really well. He's a few years older than her and the play isn't so intense. It worries me that Dee doesn't seem to read body language very well. (i.e. dog growling and snapping = maybe he might just want to play with me ::)) Is this typical with Labs? I don't want her to have to have a bad experience in order to get the message. She greets every dog like they are her long lost friend.
 

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Nala is an only dog so when she gets time around other dogs she makes the most of it. Her favorite game is chase only if she is the one being chased she will pick up sticks, toys, anything she thinks the other dog(s) might want and prance around with it showing it to them until the chase her then she is in heaven. If that game doesn't work she goes directly into bitey neck/face/closest body part to her mouth. If that doesn't work it is front paws down butt in the air barking. Usually by that time the other dog is ready to play.
 

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Top Of The Hill said:
Oonas Dad said:
Again its not just the growling that is important its a combination of everything they are doing. Oona has been attacked twice by dogs and both times the other dog never made a sound.
Olie
Yes, I know. Dee has been attacked three times now by the same dog at class of all places (nothing at all serious because there were a dozen people around to grab the dog before he could do anything). The older lady that owns this dog has trouble holding onto him when he bolts. For some reason this dog has a dislike for Dee and a couple of other dogs in class that I know of, but he seems fine with the majority. It's a puzzle. Anyway he never made a sound prior to pouncing, but it you're watching (which I always am now if he's there) his eyes are glued to her in a very intense stare. Despite this I would be willing to bet that Dee still thinks he wants to play and he just plays rough. ::) I wish she was more cautious, but I really don't think it occurs to her that anyone wants to do anything other than play. :-\
That's called the "Death Stare." If a dog is doing it you have every reason to proceed with caution. I never listen to what the owner is telling me because more often than not they are clueless. I always listen to the dog because they don't lie. If your interested the best book I've found on this subject is Stanley Coren's How to Speak Dog. He has several illustrations that show exactly what he is talking about.
Olie
 
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