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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Amber WalkerAs much as we don’t want to hear it…winter is around the corner.  That means more indoor play with your dog.  Amber Walker, owner and lead trainer at Animal Intuitions, LLC has provided us with this great blog that teaches and reminds us of some rules and boundaries when playing with your pups.

 

We love to play with our dogs!  But just like kids on the playground, dogs have a style of play, preferred time length of play, and particular games they enjoy.

Some dogs love to retrieve, while the other dogs can’t wait for you to throw the ball so they can leave it in the grass.  Some dogs will thrive in a good chase game but it can quickly turn into a game of nipping and squealing.dog-chasing-ball

As in any civilized community, there are important rules to good play.

First, the dog must understand some basic cues such as Drop It, Leave It, Take It, and All Done.  A great way to teach these cues is through the art of play however it is the pet parents’ responsibility to monitor closely while the cues are being taught.  Using something like a piece of chicken to trade for a Drop It cue is crucial for the learning process through shouldn’t be needed down the road.

dog-playing-tugSecond, the pet parents (and especially children!) must have a relationship with the dog before they can dive into safe play.  Sometimes I’ll see a family dog that will listen to Dad with 100% attention but ignore little 6 year old Kayla when she asks the same thing.  It’s really important for our kids to be a part of the training process so the dogs learn that the kids are more than just a play object that squeals, flails, and runs!  This helps facilitate safe play.

Third, recognize the style of play your dog likes best and learn to read their behaviors during play.  It’s not uncommon to see proper and fun dog-dog or dog-kid play turn sour quickly when dog’s signals are not read correctly.

Fourth, follow these general play tips:

  •  ALWAYS supervise play.
  • Don’t push a dog past a play limit if he is communicating that he’s finished.  Look for lip licking, head turning, yawning, and body shakes (like shaking off water).
  • Give lots of breaks during play for water and potty and catching of breath.  Breaks happen naturally but there may need to be forced breaks too.
  • Play should always be fair: no pinning, no cornering, no chasing if the run is to get away.
  • For a child, if play gets out of hand, STOP, cross arms in front of body and stare at feet.  The supervising adult will notice the tree stance and immediately stop in to help.  Instead of screaming, the child can loudly say the parents name or count loudly to get a parent’s attention if they are distracted.
  • Running, squealing, flailing, and yelling will increase the intensity of play and sometimes encourage inappropriate or unsafe dog behaviors.

A couple of rules go a long way…Now go to Two Bostons, pick up a NEW toy and have some fun with your dog!