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What are your thoughts about puppies wrestling? I take my Jupiter, 5 months, to the dog park (I know many don't like them), and normally we walk around the track and just throw the ball. It wears him out wonderfully, and he really enjoys it. Occasionally, we hang out in the shady area where most of the owners sit, and Jupiter sometimes encounters another puppy--and sometimes they like to wrestle. It seems to be playful, for the most part, but they never seem to know when to stop (or do they?). Basically, it can go on for many minutes. It seems that usually one puppy starts to get tired or sick of it, but the other one doesn't get the message and won't stop. At some point, I usually take Jupiter away, whether he's the one on top or the one who's had enough.

So is this wrestling normal behavior? Does it lead to problems? Is Jupiter too old to wrestle?
 

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My seventh month old has scheduled play dates with dog I know. As long as it stays gentle, they can play imho. I feel like dogs should be allowed to be dogs! But yeah skip the dog park.. My puppy got kennel cough from the dog park and it was absolutely horrible.
 

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I see nothing wrong with it at all--when one gets tired and has had enough or getting overly aggressive...break them up- sounds like you're doing that--the pup will grow into a much better adjusted adult IMO if allowed to play and wrestle as a young pup....I've thought before that folks who raise pups sorta isolated may be one of the things that lead to a "dog aggressive" adult JMO....most but not all adults are also pretty tolerant of pups and seem to enjoy playing with some rough housing...if .pup gets out of line the adult will let them know but that's typically all about the "sound" and the "show"...no actual harm....it's always good IMO to be able to read an adult dogs "body language"....anyway I got off topic...so....no nothing wrong with pups wrestling it's how they grow and learn
 

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In my experience many dogs of all ages love to wrestle, it's play fighting, it's play, it's fun :) There is nothing wrong with letting puppies wrestle with other pups or dogs, who are well behaved, balanced dogs. For this reason in my opinion it's better if you can identify a few friends, family members or perhaps people you meet in dog classes or such to have specific play dates with. The main issue with dog parks are that you don't know who is going to enter the park and you don't always know the dogs. I've had people bringing in very aggressive small dogs into the 'large dog only' section of the dog park (very annoying) and people openly admit to me that they "just picked this dog up yesterday from the pound and wanted to see how it does with dogs". If you attend dog parks often enough I feel that something bad or risky will happen eventually, in my experience, unfortunately.
 

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Sabi and Bud got into wrestling matches all their lives. It often sounded like a dog fight in my yard and it was all in good fun. It's healthy and normal. We had the occasional scuffle, quickly resolved and no harm. Not all breeds enjoy wrestling though and I dislike dog parks but to each their own.
 

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Wrestling as play can be good for them, as they get older or something happens though it can turn into an actual fight and at a dog park that can really escalate.

I'd probably try to find a few regulars and try to have play dates outside the park. I went to one a few months back as they have a smaller fenced in area for smaller dogs/puppies nobody uses and used it as a meet and greet. While I was there I watched multiple fights nearly break out and a lot of little squabbles. One person was walking around the perimeter of the park and didn't even seem to notice he'd left his dog behind and she was following another person around.

And you kind of commit the ultimate no-no, you bring toys. I understand it can be a good way to let out energy but toys and dog parks, you're setting up a fight to happen via toy aggression issues. Maybe your dog doesn't have issues but somebody else's dog sees you throw the ball and goes after it. Your puppy continues to run after the ball and gets attacked by that dog.

Also huge potential to get any diseases that start going around. The town I live in they get massive outbreaks of kennel cough and a few year ago dog flu because everybody likes to go to the dog parks and they let their dog drink out of the shared water bowl. Which you shouldn't do. If you go to places, as nice as it is, never use the shared water bowls, always bring your own and don't let your dog drink out of the shared one. My dog recently got kennel cough because my Grandma was in town and so to spend time with her I went with her and my other family to the dog park and brought my dog. Learned my lesson there.

Also keep in mind since you have a German Shepherd if any fights end up happening it'll likely be blamed on him even if he was barely involved or did not initiate it in any way.

Another horror story I have. Somebody brought a ferret to one of the dog parks here. I'm sure you guys can imagine how that turned out.
 

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I would be careful with overly rough play. It can escalate especially when they get older. Most dogs can be easily taught to tone it down. I would also look for a lack of reciprocation of one dog on the bottom and the other on top. When it is no longer a give and take, then it no longer is fun for the dog that finds itself bullied to the bottom without a break. That would be a good time to break it up and I probably would avoid that dog as a playmate in the future. Another thing to look out for is whether either dog never takes a pause. That is universal dog language for we are still playing. If one dog persists and won't take a break, remove your dog and avoid that other dog in the future if it is the one not playing well. If it is your dog not pausing, he might not be a good candidate for a dog park.

The problem with looking for safe dogs and having play dates is that most people initially seek out a dog park due to a lack of open space to run their dogs. That will still be a problem.

I agree with what another said earlier, that dogs that don't get to interact with other dogs don't learn to read dog body language as well as those allowed to interact. IMO, that can be important in social settings that you may attend with your dog and can also reduce the chance of a dog developing dog reactivity.

Somebody already mentioned to lose the toy. Toys and food cause a lot of dog fights in parks.

I would also be very careful with letting your dog correct another or letting another dog correct yours. The only one correcting dogs should be their owners. People don't go to a dog park so that you can allow your dog to harass their dog until their dog feels compelled to correct and vice versa. Dogs can get hurt that way or they can develop behavioral problems. Either way it is no longer fun for the dog forced to correct or the one receiving the correction. Defeats the purpose of being in a dog park.

Being a good breed ambassador requires that you stay on top of things in a dog park. You are usually among dog savvy people who will not judge your dog if another dog is out of line.
 

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I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts on this issue from the perspective of puppy joint development. I have a 5 month old female GSD and a 17 month old female golden retriever at home, and I allow them to play so long as they are both willing participants (basically always), but this can be pretty rough -- chasing, tackling, wrestling, etc. I've heard a few people who believe that any jarring/jolting is bad for puppy's joints, and it feels like I'm setting up my GSD for terrible problems if that's the case, but I do believe there are other benefits (including learning dog social skills and wearing each other out!). Any thoughts?
 

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I let Max play with Luna as a pup they were supervised and short sessions. I would just watch out if someone was getting annoyed needed a break or was getting to rough and made sure I monitored the pace if needed. Anything that appears to be to rough- most of the time can not be mistaken for example a body tackle at a full steam run can be damaging for a growing pup.
 
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