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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We brought our new puppy Cassie home almost 6 weeks ago. The firsts few days were fine behaviour-wise. The dogs got along much better than I had expected, no skirmishes at all. Once Cass got more comfy here the typical bitey-face playing began. No sweat, I know this is how dogs play. I was glad they were enjoying each other's company.

This past two weeks the bitey-face game has escalated quite a bit. There is more vocalizing and I often see hackles up on one or both dogs. Sometimes it's a frightening to me because I'm not sure what's "normal" playing and what's fighting. Cassie, as a puppy, uses her teeth a lot and it's not unusual for me to see her hanging off Piper's lip or ear by her teeth. There is little incident of yelping or indication that either dog has hurt the other, but it gets pretty intense at times.

Should I be doing anything? Interfering and separating? When? What are the indicators that it's gone "too far" and what exactly do I do about it?
 

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I think it sounds like normal play. When we brought Sky home Moose got a terrible sore on his ear from Sky constantly chewing on it with those shark teeth they have.

If mine get too carried away I just yell stop and they know that means stop!. It does seem like they are going to kill each other the way they sound and look. For the sanity of my house I tend to modulate it so it doesn't get too out of control. Sky is a barker and she'll start barking at Moose when they really get wound up.

When Sky was little I would sometimes crate Sky just to give Moose some down time. He wasn't much for correcting Sky.
 

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A good round of bitey face can look pretty frightening, hackles up, growling, jumping. But it's all part of the game. You have to trust your dog mom instincts and you will know when it's aggression fighting. It's just a different sound. You can look for the non-play fighting in certain situations: over food, toys, territory, but rarely during bitey face play. My only problem with Judy is when she is at the window or at the fence barking at something (squirrel, cat, strange dog, etc) and another dog comes by her to bark with her. Judy may pounce on the other barker, but I put a quick stop to that behavior.
 

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The hair on my dog's back raises too when he's really excited and playing with another dog. He plays really rough, generally. But the two times he became vicious, I could tell instantly.

What your describing sounds like rough play. Watch out for the signs of viciousness. If they get vicious, I really think you'll know.
 

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Piper will lay the ground rules, tolerating a great deal in the beginning. It's how puppies learn from the adult dog what the limits of rough-house play are.

And yes... you will know when the boundaries have been crossed. Listen for Piper to be in distress! Then it's time for a bit of intervention.
 

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yes, what everyone said...you'll know.

Zoe's Yorkie friend would try to entice Zoe in a round of bitey face. She'll start, and Kai will end up snarling. That's when I stepped in and said "Chill!" which they did.
 
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There is a very clear difference in how the dogs are acting and the sounds they are making. When my shepherd has had enough of my lab - or the lab has hurt her - or he is in trouble with one of the people in the house - she will get right after him and her tone and body language shows she means business.

He always, always backs down and gives in to her in these instances. He's a very smart boy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks - it helps to know there's not some subtle little difference in their body language I should be carefully tuned into. Hopefully the day will never come when I have to get between them, but having a bit more confidence that I'll easily recognize the signs means a lot to me.
 

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Ditto what everyone else said, but I really just wanted to post and say I just LOVE your siggy pic!! :D
 

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If play escalates and Cassie steps over the line Piper will nip her. If Cassie goes back for more thats when I would step in because Piper has told her and the next time someone might have to take a trip to the vet. If it comes to that don't reach in with your hands and try and pull them apart, this is how people get bit, because the dog thinks the hand is another mouth. Use your body to bump into their sides and tower over them. With a deep deep voice say "NO!" or "OFF!" to redirect them.
Olie
 
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