The Dog I've Always Wanted

Canine Behavior, Training and Photography

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News From the Doggie Daycare 5

June 3rd, 2008 · · News From the Doggie Daycare

It is very interesting to observe and identify the styles of play favoured by individual dogs. There are really only four basic styles of dog play. There are the rough and tumble dogs who who enjoy body slamming and rearing up on their hind legs and wrestling.

Chase is another popular dog game and it is one in which the chaser and the chased frequently switch roles.

Mouth wrestlers enjoy lying on the ground and engaging each others mouths. These dogs tend to vocalise while playing.

Creep is a mock- scary game which involves two dogs approaching each other stiff-legged and on tip- toe, very slowly advancing towards each other and then suddenly they erupt in play.

I find it remarkable how versatile most dogs are in their play styles. It also appears to be the case that dogs play differently with different individuals and at different times. Well-socialized dogs seem to be  capable of playing in a mutually satisfying way with most others next.

The play in a group of a dozen or so dogs has a certain rhythm in that the energy level seems to fluctuate as though by some consensus on the dogs’ part. Dog play needs to be monitored in order that the participants do not become overly aroused. Play should be interrupted as soon as it seems to be drifting towards aggression. It can take some experience to know when to intervene.

Studying the way dogs play with each other is an excellent way to discover a lot about dogs. Play is the self-expression of dogs. In human terms it parallels dance. The more that I observe dog play the more I am amazed by the grace and agility of dogs. And the exuberance and raw energy is contagious. If we play more with our dogs we can rediscover our own capacity for play.



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