Play in puppies is very important during education. It allows the learning of certain orders in a less strict way, as well as the establishment of hierarchical relations between the puppy, the master and the family. There is a natural tendency for play in young animals. But these games must be “regulated”.
The game’s rules
In a litter, the puppies constantly “search” for each other and bite each other. This allows them to let off steam, but under the close supervision of their mother, who does not accept deviations and aggressiveness between the puppies. They must also understand quickly enough that their games, without being strictly regulated, will sometimes be hampered by certain human social rules.
It is easy to recognize a dog that wants to play: it flexes its forelegs, raises the hindquarters, and barks while making light jumps. It takes this attitude as well to play with the man as to play with a fellow creature. The positions of submission or domination are then adopted.
If no one answers, the dog will bring you a toy. It’s clear ! The sitting or squatting attitude of a person is interpreted by the dog as an invitation to play. You should therefore not be surprised to see an animal resting your two front paws on your knees and tugging at you when you are squatting. This is the reason why orders should always be given in a standing position: the dog easily understands that this is not a game.
The game should never turn into a fight, even with dogs. The border should be very sharp, but this is not always the case in the dog’s head. To avoid any accidents, it is essential to choose the right “toys”, games and play partners.
Toys must be objects that belong exclusively to the dog. It must be able to dispose of them at all times. Avoid storing them.
They should especially not be confused with an object familiar to the master. Take the example of the old slipper. The teachers say: “Let’s leave it to them, it’s okay, I don’t use it anymore”. The dog then throws themselves with pleasure on the said (old) slipper, chews it and gives it joyful blows with its fangs. Then one morning, the master discovers his brand new pair of shoes eaten by the dog.
Here he is beside himself. You find that normal ? No. But how can the dog tell the difference between a used pair of slippers and a new one? The answer is simple: it cannot do it, it has no notion of the new and the old ! It is exactly the same with tennis balls or old balls. So do not give them objects that belong to you, nor your children’s toys, nor everyday objects.
Pay attention to safety
You have to buy them dog toys, even if at first this may seem ridiculous to you. Buffalo hide toys are perfect. They have the advantage of not “squealing” and can be eaten without danger by the dog. They also have a certain smell that the dog recognizes. If you buy them a fabric dog toy, never wash it . A dog needs to recognize its scent on objects that belong to them: toys, baskets, blankets.
It is important, too, to ensure the safety of the puppy. Any ball that is too small may be swallowed, anything that is brittle may be crumbled, and ingestion of such crumbs may cause stomach irritation. In the first months of their life, it is very common to have to operate on animals that have swallowed a toy while playing. These operations being delicate, it is still best to prevent them.
It’s not about letting your Labrador play only with Labradors! No, the partners must quickly be very diverse to socialize the animal well and avoid future conflicts.
The other dogs
Your pet must meet other dogs in wide open spaces. Try to take them to large parks or forests where dogs are allowed. Keep an eye on the progress of the game. But above all, detach your dog: it is very bad to make dogs play together at the end of a leash.
Kept dogs are much more aggressive with each other than let loose dogs. The latter will establish relationships of strength and quickly dominants and dominated will emerge. The leash transmits the master’s fear of a possible fight to the dog. This is the best way to trigger it. If you think your dog is not responding well enough to the booster, postpone play sessions for a few weeks and stick with them.
The games are therefore an opportunity for the puppy to “test” the owner and members of the family very early on. The “hand” should always be in the camp of the person playing with the dog. Control should never be left to the animal. The session must be able to be interrupted at any time. The children are, in this precise case, to be “educated” as well.
They must respect the rules and avoid certain games that we will discuss later. They must also be taught to remain calm during the game and especially not to shout. This gradually increases the tension of the situation and can lead the puppy to show fear or aggression.
Natural games between puppies are often based on power struggles. Quickly, the “limits” disappear. Dogs cannot afford to have these specific relationships with human beings.
What to play?
At home, gambling sessions don’t have to be “innocent”. They must strengthen the domination of the master. Very early on, you can play to turn the animal on its back, to remove its toy from its mouth (without pulling on it). As soon as the puppy appears excited, or adopts dominant attitudes, stop the session.
Outside, dogs tend to have fun on their own or seek the company of their peers. Stick throwing is a possible game, but make sure the dog gives you back the stick without having to shoot it.
Some games should definitely be avoided with people. Any pulling of sweaters, tea towels, leash or any other object is to be avoided. They only irritate the animal and encourage displays of aggression, such as growling. The puppy will put all of his energy into winning the game by snatching the object out of your hands.
These behaviors, which seem harmless in a puppy, can become very dangerous in adulthood. The biting of the hands are also prohibited. “It bites me all the time, it has to make its teeth”, this is how the masters excuse their puppy. If it has a toothache, let them chew on its buffalo skin toy, not your hands. These rules are fundamental when the dog is brought to play with children.
The fangs, even given slowly, can hurt. If the puppy begins to growl during a play session or does not obey the rules, immediately stop play and ignore the dog . If that is not enough, shake it by the skin of the neck and send it to its basket.
Playing with your dog in summary:
– Take advantage of the play sessions to educate the puppy
– Buy them a dog toy
– Let them play with other dogs
– Play calmly, stop as soon as signs of excitement appear
– Scold the puppy at the slightest sign aggressiveness
– Go and get them to play (you have to let them come by themselves)
– Give them objects of your own as toys
– Keep them on a leash to play
– Shout during the game
– Accept tugging and kicking teeth