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Thread: When is puppy play too much? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-05-2014 06:23 PM
Unforgiving I watch this daily with a border collie pup and an older lab. I have always been the same as in let them sort each other out, especially if they are living together. The older dog will put the puppy in line. Unless it gets horribly violent, I don't think there is anything to worry about.
09-03-2014 04:34 PM
Bear L
Originally Posted by Mwelsh03 View Post
Here's a video of them playing. Too much or perfectly normal?

Gsd and puppy - YouTube
On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being most vicious, that is more like a 4. Not even close to "rough". My 10 lbs peke mix plays with my adult GSD much "rougher."

Rough is where there are body slamming, lots of loud dog noises, bouncing off of each other, one falling on top the other, furnitures being relocated, rugs rearranged, running at top speed, ground shaking, things knocked over, you/human at risk of being endangered if they run into you. My GSD has played till she bled and she didn't even notice. The blood is likely from being nibbled too hard or as she falls to the ground and brushed against something.

You are still far in the safe zone.
09-03-2014 04:16 PM
brembo My two work it out on their own for the most part.

Cable is a very mature 3.5 years now and would allow Allie (now 1.5) to get away with murder. Rough play sessions lasting many minutes at a time. Growling and snapping, looks and sounds awful. Cable would put a stop to it with an ear bite or a roar, now that they are older the play is more sedate and does not last as long, BUT happens more often.
09-03-2014 03:46 PM
KonaK9 I'm so glad to have read this post. We recently got an 8-9 week puppy and he's a little firecracker. My going on 5 yr old GSD is as patient and calm as the day is long but the puppy is constantly running at her and nibbling any part of her he can get his hands on. At first he was only going for the stomach (which appeared as if he was trying to nurse) but since then loves going for the legs,face, ears etc. I know it's all puppy play, and I occasionally step in when I can see my GSD has grown tired of it but for the most part I have let them do their thing. My older GSD treats the puppy exactly as you describe (showing teeth, large open mouth, low minor growls) but has to this point only given a soft nip on the puppy's ear when it has become too much. I assumed, as I feel like I know my older dogs demeanor, that they would work it out together but my girlfriend has constantly been nervous the older dog would take it too far. It's good to see others have witnessed, experienced the same thing. I believe I will use it as a training tool as well! Thanks for the advice.
08-04-2014 09:01 PM
Mwelsh03 Thanks for the input!
08-04-2014 08:53 PM
MichaelE Perfectly normal. Your adult Shepherd has her mouth all the way open, has not closed it on the smaller pup, and is not being aggressive.

And yes, the 'puppy pass' will expire. That's when your dog better have a clue by then or she will be taught the hard way. That's nature.
08-04-2014 08:33 PM
Mwelsh03 Here's a video of them playing. Too much or perfectly normal?

Gsd and puppy - YouTube
08-04-2014 08:33 PM
Cassidy's Mom
Originally Posted by Mwelsh03 View Post
Yea that's what I am struggling with. It seems like my 100 pound gsd is bullying the young dog to the point he gets defensive sometimes and bites back hard.
This would concern me. Others have mentioned the "puppy pass" - at some point that will expire, and things your other dog allowed the puppy to get away with will come to a complete stop and he won't put up with that crap anymore. Ideally, your older dog will warn the puppy, the puppy will back off immediately, and they'll come to an agreement about what kind of play they enjoy together. But like I said, it might not go that way.

What I don't want to have happen in my house is for my puppy to feel like she has to take matters into her own hands (er...paws? ). I want my puppy to know that if my other dog is playing too rough, *I* will protect her, she doesn't have to defend herself. That's why I like to interrupt play every so often while everyone is still having fun. I also want them to not be so into each other that they won't stop whatever they're doing and pay attention to me when I need them to. If they blew me off, I'd put them each in their crate for a brief timeout.

So far, it's worked well. If they start getting too rough and I think one of them is starting to not be having as much fun as the other one, I can say "HEY, do you want a timeout?!?!?!" and they'll usually stop what they're doing and look at me.
08-04-2014 08:21 PM
Mwelsh03 Yea that's what I am struggling with. It seems like my 100 pound gsd is bullying the young dog to the point he gets defensive sometimes and bites back hard. The pup hasn't bit him hard enough yet to tick him off, so maybe they are just playing rough right now?
08-04-2014 08:05 PM
Cassidy's Mom Personally, I'd err on the side of caution and step in when things look to be getting out of hand. This may or may not escalate into a big problem down the road, you never know. It could be the the puppy is just testing his boundaries with your other dog, who will let him know when he's gone too far, and the puppy will respect those warnings. BUT, on the off chance that things won't go so smoothly, I'd not let the puppy pester the other dog to the point where he's grabbing him by the head and forcing him to the ground.

The fact that the puppy is coming back so hard in response might mean that he's feeling defensive, which could end up being a nasty fight at some point in the next few months if one of them decides not to back down. My dogs play very rough and it's really loud. To an outsider it might look like they're trying to kill each other, but I can tell that they're both having fun and it's pretty mutual. Once in a while there's a tone to their play that tells me somebody is getting mad, perhaps because the other was just a bit too rough, and that's when I tell them to knock it off.

I was much more pro-active about supervising their play when one was full grown and the other was a young puppy. I'd interrupt for some OB exercises for treats, like sit or down and watch me, etc., and then I'd release them back to play again. Keefer was actually pretty bad about trying to play with Halo the same way he did with Dena, who was his half sister. She was nearly a year older and under 10 pounds less than him, so they were very evenly matched. Halo was a tough little snot but she was only 14 pounds when she came home at 10 weeks old, so I was on him a lot to get him to play more gently until she was older and bigger.
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