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Should dogs be allowed to play together?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by shadowmare, Oct 6, 2013.


  1. shadowmare

    shadowmare The dog doesn't bite, me on the other hand...

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    So a few days back I shared my troubles with Axel's need to get to other dogs. I already knew that I need to work on his recall for him to come back in case he goes off to see another dog, but wasn't sure if that's enough. Anyway... I was surprised by a few people who said that dogs should not be allowed to play with other dogs and all games should be only between the owner and the dog :huh: They said that the owner must always be more interesting than anything else so if needed all toys at home should be hidden too and the owner should be the one to decide when the dog is allowed to play so that dog understands that all fun comes from the owner... I understand the idea that dogs often are obsessed with other dogs because they find it very interesting and fun so naturally the owner should then become more interesting. But I am not sure about the view that dogs shouldn't be allowed to play with other dogs. A couple of people even said they don't really allow their own pack of dogs to play. They are only allowed to chase a ball together etc. Just interested in hearing other thoughts on this as I am slightly confused. I mean, we all talk about socialisation of our puppies, positive interaction etc. but how would the dog get the truly positive experience if they don't even get to play? On saturday mornings I go to a local park to meet other dog owners where Axel gets to play with a couple of other puppies as well as meet adult dogs and behave around them. Now I am not as sure that this is a good idea:huh: I always thought that the more dogs Axel would meet, the less intriguing other dogs would be on our walks (he would be used to seeing other dogs) but maybe I should avoid it so that he doesn't learn how fun it can be to play with other dogs?:confused1:
     
  2. catz4m8z

    catz4m8z PetForums VIP

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    well, I can see why you might stop your dog playing with others if it is obsessed to the point of ignoring the owner. Letting it play would only be rewarding it and it would be much better off learning to play with and listen to theowner first.
    Can also understand not letting dogs plays if they are ill/elderly/scared/etc. But in general dogs like having a play together surely?:confused:
    My little pack play all the time and have a blast! Although the boys can be funny at times so I do stop them from getting over the top, although Alfie and Heidi run around like lunatics most days....they would all still rather play with me though!:D (I wouldnt let them chase a ball together, it would get too competitive).
    You should always let puppies play with other dogs though to socialize. As you say the trick is to make yourself way more interesting then the dogs so they are socialized but always come back to you.
     
  3. Jobeth

    Jobeth PetForums VIP

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    My oldest dog went to puppy classes and they allowed off lead interaction. He is totally obsessed with me and barely leaves my side when off lead. The only reason he will run after a ball is because he gets a treat for returning it. He wouldn't bother otherwise. He is allowed to play with my yorkie and is really good at stopping for breaks and it never gets out of hand. They don't play that often though. My yorkie runs off lead with a neighbour's dog, but they don't play. He totally ignores them. Due to her size I wouldn't let her play with unknown dogs.

    Personally if both owners are happy I see no problem with letting them play. I would make your own judgement though if the other dog is ok as someone told me their off lead dog was friendly and it clearly wasn't. If there is a recall issue though I'd use a long line whilst allowing him to play and work on recalling him away during play. You'll always get a variety of opinion and at the end of the day you make your own decision.
     
  4. BoredomBusters

    BoredomBusters PetForums VIP

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    I don't allow my dogs to wrestle because:

    1. They see other dogs as toys
    2. They are practising fighting skills they have no need of (hopefully)
    3. I grew up watching my brothers playfighting, which nearly always turned into a punch up
    4. Dogs are not all the same size or age or breed

    I do allow them to play chase games and tuggie with toys with each other (within my pack, never with 'strange' dogs), however playing is a valuable dog training tool and I want to keep as much of their play needs for myself as possible. Having small dogs it's not practical to keep pumping treats in, and as I do a lot of dog sports (mostly inadequately, but we have fun) I need to do a lot of training with them.

    My only exception to this would be puppies. They are NEVER allowed contact with dogs who will wrestle with them, and I prefer play to be with me/the owners for training and bonding purposes. Mostly the recall problems I see are 'can't get him back from other dogs' so why would you teach your puppy from an early age that puppies are more fun than an owner? No thank you.

    Also play can proof against many forms of resource guarding, and teach the 'milder' cases that they don't need to guard.
     
  5. Dogless

    Dogless PetForums VIP

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    Mine don't really get to play with other dogs other than those we already know or if I meet an owner with dogs who is happy with me and I with them. Kilo is walked away from dogs at present but I made the mistake of quantity rather than quality of socialisation as a puppy with him.

    Rudi I want to be "dog neutral". I disagree that you should always let puppies play with other dogs - I wanted him to learn that dogs are to be ignored unless I release him to play. So, he sees a dog and looks to me for some interaction. He plays with some dogs and ignores others - he is always asked to ignore them on his lead. He is young yet but we are getting there (touch wood!!).

    Your regular meet sounds fine to me - I'd ensure Axel's listening to you before he is released to play if possible and call him back to you periodically during play.

    My two are allowed to play together, it gives me great pleasure watching them.
     
  6. bearcub

    bearcub PetForums VIP

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    As I said on another thread recently, the games my two play exclusively with each other are not only fun but hugely mentally and physically stimulating. They just love to chase around at top speed together, changing directions or slowing down on purpose and then turning the tables on the other one. There's no way I could replicate that with them!

    They are allowed to wrestle too, there must be a reason why dogs choose to wrestle with each other so why prevent so something natural. I will intervene if it gets too rough but it rarely does.

    Florence and Freya don't really play with other strange dogs out and about; but if we meet a dog who engages my two in play and I'm happy/the owners happy then they're allowed a couple of minutes playtime. Very rare all those things happen though.

    With regards to Axel I'm not sure how old he is? If he's still a puppy then I would allow him the opportunity to meet dogs but limit who he gets to play with; socialisation with other dogs isn't all about play.
     
  7. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Tbh I think that sounds sensible & that's how I am with my two (although they are allowed to play together).

    Although socialising dogs is a good idea I think this should be supervised & kept under control, to many people seem to think this is simply about letting dogs charge around together which I don't think teaches them anything & will add to any recall problems the owners may be having.

    Some dogs will be fine with this & will always see their owners as the most important thing in their lives but many (most!) will not, how many times do we read about people having poor recall, a dog obsessed with other dogs, dogs charging over & ruining walks, etc

    I don't let my dogs play with any dogs we don't know & even those we do they are allowed to interact but no rough play, they must always be given 'permission' as I do not want either of them to see other dogs as a source of fun, that must be me. Sounds strict to some but I don't want my dogs out of control & b*ggering off when they feel like it (as has been in the past!)
     
  8. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    Sounds like a right load of codswallop to me. Sorry, but dogs are, like any species, happiest in the company of other dogs. My dogs play together, they also play with other dogs providing the other dog is willing and by that I mean they both get a turn and doing the chasing or whatever. Obviously you can't allow a free for all with loads of dogs, but to not let them play is a sure way to a very unsocialised and fearful dog in the opinion of my thirty years experience.
     
    northnsouth likes this.
  9. Jobeth

    Jobeth PetForums VIP

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    My older dog is 9kg to my yorkie's 4kg. They play wrestle and it has never got out of hand, they don't see other dogs as toys and the one time my older dog was ragged by a bigger dog he just cried and didn't attempt to fight back. I love watching them play and act independently of me.

    An off lead dog approached for play recently and they had a quick interaction and then he recalled. The other owner spent ages trying to get their dog back. I think he has good recall around dogs due to his off lead socialisation at training classes whilst being taught to focus just on me.
     
  10. ClaireandDaisy

    ClaireandDaisy PetForums VIP

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    Would you isolate a growing human and expect them to learn how to socialise and get on with other humans?
    I find the question quite worrying actually. Dogs need to socialise with their own species. If they don`t, they become anxious and afraid.
    JMO
     
  11. sharloid

    sharloid PetForums VIP

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    Sadly ours don't really get to social with other dogs. Occasionally we'll go on group husky walks but they're all on lead so don't really interact.

    I wish they did as they enjoy playing.

    Ever since we've had 2 dogs they've rarely said hello to another dog as people tend to avoid us...
     
  12. moonviolet

    moonviolet PetForums VIP

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    It's like everything, keeping it in balance. If you insist your puppy meets/plays with every dog they spy, they will come to expect to meet or play with every dog they see. For various reasons this isn't always possible or desirable. when these reasons apply it can lead to great frustration for your dog.

    .
     
  13. springerpete

    springerpete PetForums VIP

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    I've always allowed my dogs to play together as well as other dogs where appropriate. Surely when they're young it's part of learning ground rules and where the limits are.
    Skye and Flytes' play is something to behold, it's as though WW3 has broken out sometimes, first it'll be Flyte sitting on top of little Skye then Skye is nipping Flytes legs or hanging from his ear. In all of these pitched battles they have never drawn blood or gotten bad tempered. They've learned, better than I could teach them, just what is acceptable and what's a nip too far.
     
  14. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    When I first got Diva, who had only ever seen other newfies at shows and who she lived with, I spent a lot of time and petrol going to Magog Downs, which for those who do not know has a fenced in dog field for playing. Sometimes there fifteen or more dogs and they all played quite happily together, even though Diva did not know that all these different sized dogs existed.

    I love to see them all playing; it is great.
     
  15. Howl

    Howl PetForums VIP

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    When we trained D we made a huge fuss everytime there was a dog. We asked to socialise her with lots of dogs on walks and took her regularly to events where there are lots of dogs.She played with all sizes of dogs so she knew how to play gently with smaller ones. We also took her to training so she learnt to ignore the dogs when she needed to pay attention.
    The result is a very friendly dog who does enjoy playing very much but has a good level of concentration even in very difficult circumstances. There are times when I think she is very excited and thnk my command might be ignored but she more often than not suprises me. Her social skills have helped her countless times when an aggresive dog has run at her she somehow manages to tell them she is not a threat, enough so we can walk away.

    E was much different. Only dog in a very privileged home. So huge gardens to explore lots of human play but no contact with other dogs really until 12/18 months. It took a lot of socialising and training, we are still at a stage where she barks in fear but then remembers/realises she can make friends.
    My basset was in kennels with other dogs for the last 4 years and although loves to play can easily focus with very little training and ignores most dogs on walks. Unless they are sexy boy dogs :rolleyes:
    These are extremes. We did when D was young have a phase where she really wanted to be playing. This was all part of her being an excitable young dog though.
    I stop play in my own pack when it is getting very boisterous or I feel the noise changes to something less playful.
     
  16. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

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    I think all dogs need to interact to some extent, especially as youngsters, but I think they also need to learn that it is on our say so and that there are times they will not be able to say hello or play with another dog. I think it's finding the balance between the two that is the problem.

    As for having to be the most interesting thing in your dogs life, I HATE that thought. I'm afraid I cannot be more exciting than a flock of sheep or a rotting hedgehog or another dog. What I can do however is use those things my dog really wants as reinforcement, take away the battle between doing what I want and doing what he wants (within reason of course, chasing sheep or rushing up to strange dogs without permission is not on). I think this is why I like Control Unleashed and Pigs Fly so much, they tell you you can train your dog even if there are things he finds more exciting than you.
     
  17. Spellweaver

    Spellweaver PetForums VIP

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    Well said - I agree! No matter what the latest theories say, you can't beat actual experience. :)

    We have six dogs varying in age from 1 year to 13 years (eight dogs when Evie and Leon come to stay, which they do often).

    We never have a problem in any of them obeying our commands - it might take two or three tries to get their attention if they are busy racing around the garden with each other, or deeply into a game of tug, but once they realise that we are calling them they are obedient - and that is because they are all trained separately as well as living together and reacting together in a normal way.

    They have a toy box and are allowed to get out their toys and play with them whenever they want - we don't feel the need to restrict them until we say they can play.

    And as for puppies being around older dogs - there is no better way, imo, for puppies to learn how to behave around older dogs than to be taught by older dogs. Every time we have introduced a puppy over the years we have obviously kept a careful watch, but allowed the ineraction to be normal. Older dogs will sometimes let puppies get away with things, but will also let them know when their behaviour is unacceptable. Not only that, but a lot of general training is also easier because the pup copies the older dogs - toilet trainng, for example, happens a lot more quickly when a pup copies what older dogs do.

    And the result of all this is a set of happy dogs who we can take anywhere because they know how to interact with other dogs of all ages.
     
  18. Alice Childress

    Alice Childress PetForums VIP

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    Ditto. To me, it's one of those ideas that humans come up with, partly because we all like to feel important. Truth is, we are not the most exciting thing in a dogs life, and to restrict a dogs socialisation, to try and enforce something that is near on impossible, is not fair on the dog.
     
  19. Lauren5159

    Lauren5159 Lover of Terriers, loser of the plot.

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    I think it's so sad when people answer that question with a 'no'.

    Of course, there are exceptions.

    But, on a whole, yes, I think dogs should be able to play. My two are constant rough-housers (with each other). They roll around, chase each other, grab each other by the throat, Skip hangs from Dexter's ears, Dexter literally wipes the feet from Skip. And the is a 16kg weight difference between the two of them.

    I'm with Pete on this one, when my two play, it is similar to WW3!
    They have never drawn blood from each other, they have never got hurt and you can tell the exact moment when one of the dogs has taken it too far. They get a swift telling off from the other and end the game themselves... They know what is play and what isn't, otherwise they wouldn't heed the telling off and it would probably escalate in to a fight. But how will they learn these things if they are not allowed to play in the first place?

    On a walk, we have rules.

    I'm lucky that there is a very close-knit dog walking community where I live and we constantly come in to contact with the same people and the same dogs. My dogs know not to approach another dog. They can look, but all ears have to be on me. They know that when they do approach other dogs or other dogs approach them, all four paws have to be on the ground. They also know that if try engage in play and the other dog isn't interested, that's fine. Move on. If another dog engages them in play, then game on :)

    I must admit though, Skip at nine months old, is getting there but sometimes the terrier in him takes over and he looks at me as if to say, "and you are?" If he's having a good time. Dexter, if you show him a ball, couldn't care less about another dog. He does have his favourite pooch friends though. A Bull Mastiff called Millie is his downfall...

    Okay, I got a bit carried away...

    My main point. Of course, under the right circumstances and structure, should your dogs be allowed to play. I can try to be as fun and exciting as I want, but I'm still no good for an all-teeth, all-zoomies play session and my boys know this :)
     
  20. SLB

    SLB PetForums VIP

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    This.

    I made a muck up of Lou's socialisation as a pup and it messed his recall up. I took him over to "make friends" with every dog he was able to meet. Now he wants to say hello to all dogs.

    Now it could be that she is a complete different dog. But I didn't do the same with Pen, she ignored other dogs as a pup and went straight for the humans, that was fine, she still recalled. And this continued on.. it's only after her season did she become a little more interested in other dogs but that was because (I think) she was kept away from them.

    I do wonder if I had done with Lou what I did with Pen, would I have the same result - but I will never know, so I re-enforce recall with Lou. The tip is to recall at random times as well as when there are other dogs around. Or you get smarty pants dogs that realise you call them whenever there is another dog around :rolleyes:

    As for the playing issue. I let mine play, I let mine wrestle etc. And if I'm out and about and the other owner is happy for this to happen then I do. Regardless of size. I am willing to step in if it is a little dog and also with big dogs when mine look uncomfortable.

    This is Pen with Hugo. (ignore my nattering and my swear word..)
    Hugo and Pen - YouTube

    And Pen with Missy. (I'm watching Chuck in case you're wondering)
    Shih Tzu vs Lab x - YouTube

    And My 3 playing.
    Jack, Lou and Pen playing. - YouTube

    As you can see they are rougher with dogs that can handle it but with little dogs they know they have to be gentler. I didn't teach them this, I have never taught them to play with other dogs - they have learned through doing it themselves. Lou and Pen are brilliant at judging how much the other dog can take - but if I recall or say the word - then they stop. You can see Pen has a habit of biting necks - with Lou she will rag, but if he tells her it hurts she gets off, with Missy, she simply just put her mouth around her, she didn't dig her teeth in or pull her about or anything like that. Regardless of how it looks - she is extremely gentle with Missy and other little dogs.

    I cannot teach my dog how to be a dog. Thats the simple things. I can teach them how I want them to behave but at the end of the day - thats more because I'm a human. Quite often than not, my dogs will only play with a strange dog for 5 minutes or so.. If the dog is in my garden then it might go on longer. It depends.
     
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