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The Do’s And Don’t Of Dogs Playing

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How to rough house between dog? Dogs and puppies love to roughhouse with each other. It burns off a lot of energy and helps them learn appropriate behaviors like how hard to bite. There are rules to roughhousing.


NEVER EVER let dogs or puppies play with dogs who are wearing a prong or chain collar. This is a HUGE safety concern. During play, dogs can get very mouthy and their teeth can get stuck in the chains and when they struggle to get out of the chain, them pulling to get out of the chain could strangle the dog wearing the chain collar. 

If you are letting dogs wrestle without supervision, NEVER have collars on not even regular cotton collars.

How can I create a safe environment during play?

  1. You have to make sure that all dogs and puppies are comfortable with the play style. If you notice any dog who seems that they are getting overwhelmed or perhaps too aroused, take them out of the group. Let them have a little time out and see if they want to go back to play. Some dogs and puppies love to roughhouse but don’t like being chased or vice versa. Always keep an eye out on all the dogs playing not just yours.
  2. Growling and vocalization are totally allowed. “Dogs often growl during friendly play with other canines. This type of growling is higher-pitched and shorter in length than other growls. Watch for the proper play signals in your canine to ensure the interaction is friendly and conduct frequent breaks in play to keep arousal levels low.” Make sure that all dogs are comfortable with the growling dog. Some dogs can get afraid or not read the growling dog properly. There could be a misunderstanding between communications. Always watch for dog’s and puppy’s body language.
    • This is simply a common way that dogs express their emotions verbally. So be sure to consider their body language, facial expressions, and other behavior in reference to the growling sound before you assume that it is hostile. For most dogs, growling is part of play – even with their pets – and not a reason to worry. However, if the dog has taken on an aggressive posture while growling, then you may wish to be concerned about a fight.
  3. Mouthing and biting during dog play is allowed as long as no one is holding on. Dogs and puppies learn bite inhibition through play.
  4. Watch for any dogs who are getting too aroused and may start an actual fight.