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Discussion Starter #1
Since the past few days, our 5 month old wants to play rough. He goes into the play bow and immediately starts mouthing and dodging,( though we don't feel any teeth on us). He obviously wants to wrestle with us, wrinkles his muzzle, bares his teeth but does not actually bite. If I say no he vocalizes the no back at me, but is not deterred. If we don't respond and stand still, he jumps up at us and nips our hands.

Incidentally, though this may be a coincidence all this started when a 16 year old boy stayed with us a couple of days and he started the rough play. We asked him not to do it, but he would rile up the puppy who would be quietly lying down and then walk away and ignore it.

Sigh. And I thought I only had to worry about raising kids with bad influences around them.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this quickly much appreciated. Right now I am just putting him in his playpen for a time out and he falls asleep.
 

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Your pup wants and needs to play. If you don't provide that he will make his own games. If I seen someone trying to rile up my dog I would instruct the pup to relax and the kid to relax or go home. But the child was probably doing a good job in interacting with the dog and encouraging it to play. So that kid would be a good trainer. You need to be that playful energy but through controlling the games you know how to switch off the dog too. It all comes down to dicipline and knowledge of training and dog behavior. You should research and train that dog. I think Tug is king. If a dog likes it then you can teach it anything through it's desire to chase, bite and fight.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am not saying that we dont play with him, merely that I am concerned about the rough play. We do play a lot with him, fetch, tug, hide and seek, find it, and just making him run as much as he wants to. But he does not want to play those games any more. Any attempt at engaging him in any other kind of play, he igmores or gets bored of quickly. My concern is that as he grows stronger, this kind of rough play where he is leaping up and mouthing us can lead to one of the kids getting hurt.
 

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My boy Midnite plays rough and has no manners. He also has had no training(that is changing in two weeks). My girl Robyn started school when she was 13 weeks old and we never had any of the issues we have with Midnite. Get him into classes and keep going to them for the next few months or even years. They like to learn and its a form of bonding too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah I do take him to classes. And he has been really good till now with his playing, and general obedience.
 

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honestly, I think that dogs NEED a bit of rough play. It sounds like he has good boundaries about it so far. I would get a toy that you can tug with and that he can "kill" The skinzz toys (no stuffing, you can put an empty water bottle in them) are great for this though most dogs will do it with about anything. A good game of chase/tag and flinging around his prize helps burn off that desire.
He's telling you that he needs more out of his playtime and to be a bit more engaged. You can play chase/tag with him and still keep the "no bite, no pawing" rule. Simply stopping the game if he gets too ramped up will quickly teach him the boundaries.
Here are what my two boys looked like when they played together
lots of noise and chasing but no one actually touches anyone else.

and Singe playing with our neighbors pitbull Kye
as you can tell, they had been playing for a while at this point!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Yes, this is exactly how he wants to play with us! I just have been wary about chasing. In case he starts nipping the kids in his excitement. But all we have to do is stamp our foot or do a sort of pounce and he runs around the yard and comes back for more.

Also, people (here on some topics I've read) talk about not playing with them some since then they would view you as a littermate which could lead to some behaviour problems, so we have been careful about that.
 

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Keep it up with the classes. It will help with the manners part and then you can play with him without worrying about getting bit. I am lucky because my dogs play with each other roughly, but don't really expect it from me.
 

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I think rough play is ok for most dogs as long as he does it under a set of structured rules. View it like teaching a young kid karate. They need to pick up on the discipline part of it and not just judo chop everyone they see for fun.

My rules are.

Human always initiates it. Mine is usually Packen! or Lets fight! Do it in a really excited happy tone and then give him a playful shove.

He has to stop when I say Stop or Off. You have to teach the Off or Stop command and you have to make sure he understands this even at a high state of arousal. Any attempt to carry on after this is sternly corrected. Any attempt to initiate on his own is corrected or redirected or plain out ignored. It really depends on how he tries to start it and if he is pushy about it or not. Pushy obviously is more likely to be corrected than just a play bow and barking which can generally be ignored.

He can't bite really hard, but if I get cut because of a baby tooth raking me then that is no big deal and we generally carry on. (I generally end up cut at some point during the game)

Once you start playing like this with him expect him to be more pushy about wanting to start the game himself. As long as you don't give in he will get the idea fairly quickly over the course of a few days.

You can even incorporate obedience training into it. Stop play real quick ask for him to carry out a command and as soon as he does it praise and smack each other around a bit more. It makes training fun. They learn that to keep the game going they have to listen to what you say.

The structure is the important part. The sport dogs the highly trained Belgian ring, French ring, and Mondioring etc dogs are all playfighting with their trainers in a more serious way on bite suits and bite sleeves. It is structured play to the dog. It will only reinforce your position as a leader if done this way.
 

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I think rough play is ok for most dogs as long as he does it under a set of structured rules. View it like teaching a young kid karate. They need to pick up on the discipline part of it and not just judo chop everyone they see for fun.

My rules are.

Human always initiates it. Mine is usually Packen! or Lets fight! Do it in a really excited happy tone and then give him a playful shove.

He has to stop when I say Stop or Off. You have to teach the Off or Stop command and you have to make sure he understands this even at a high state of arousal. Any attempt to carry on after this is sternly corrected. Any attempt to initiate on his own is corrected or redirected or plain out ignored. It really depends on how he tries to start it and if he is pushy about it or not. Pushy obviously is more likely to be corrected than just a play bow and barking which can generally be ignored.

He can't bite really hard, but if I get cut because of a baby tooth raking me then that is no big deal and we generally carry on. (I generally end up cut at some point during the game)

Once you start playing like this with him expect him to be more pushy about wanting to start the game himself. As long as you don't give in he will get the idea fairly quickly over the course of a few days.

You can even incorporate obedience training into it. Stop play real quick ask for him to carry out a command and as soon as he does it praise and smack each other around a bit more. It makes training fun. They learn that to keep the game going they have to listen to what you say.

The structure is the important part. The sport dogs the highly trained Belgian ring, French ring, and Mondioring etc dogs are all playfighting with their trainers in a more serious way on bite suits and bite sleeves. It is structured play to the dog. It will only reinforce your position as a leader if done this way.
This is a great idea. It can be a lot of fun too. My GSD I had growing up was great at this. My end word was "enough". He could be mid air jumping toward me and that ended the game instantly. Best part of this was it wore him out and I barely had to move. I could just stand there and he would take off running then turn back toward me and run and jump and play bite....I would push him away playfully and he would take off running again. We had a blast, he was tired, I wasn't tired....great game. I too usually ended up with a nick or two, but I seldom realized it until after the game was over.
 

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Baillif, how do you teach "stop" or "off" when they are in a high state of arousal? My 18 month old gets riled up like this and I would have no problem playing with him that way, if I knew how to teach him the game is over.

Great thread!


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Use the off method he uses here in the later half of this video exactly as he does it. You start like that and after 30-50 repetitions of that over the course of a few days you then start to rile him up with that fist full of treats. Poke him with it and shove him around a little in a playful manner and get him to latch onto the hand and bite and play with that hand and then give him the off command. Soon as he stops you treat like you were normally and praise.

You want to start with him at relatively low levels of play arousal first and then work your way up gradually till hes growling and going wild and sounding like a fierce warrior puppy. If he starts to ignore the command step it back a few steps at lower arousal levels until he starts to register the command again.

Do your best to keep it to one command of "off" or whatever you choose to use. Then wait for the behavior. If necessary help him out by stopping any motion with your hand and being boring with that fist hand, sometimes they need a little help at first.

The treat stage helps him learn what is expected command wise. When you are past that stage and playing with him the reward becomes the continuation of the game.
 
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