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Thread: Dogs Know Each Others Age?

  1. #1
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    Default Dogs Know Each Others Age?

    Do dogs know how old another dog is? And so, do they interact differently?

    I've noticed that Milo (6 month old Kelpie) plays really rough with my friends 5 month old dalmation (bigger than him in size). But he's a lot less rough with my friends 3 month old mini fox terrier x (which is about 1/6 Milo's size).

    Today when he played with my cousin's 14 year old dog which was about 1/4 Milo's size, I couldn't tell if Milo was just being gentle or being harrassed and scared. He would touch and lick the older dog gently, and always be the one chased. The other dog's tail was always wagging, though. Is this just how a puppy plays with a senior dog?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaer View Post
    Do dogs know how old another dog is? And so, do they interact differently?

    I've noticed that Milo (6 month old Kelpie) plays really rough with my friends 5 month old dalmation (bigger than him in size). But he's a lot less rough with my friends 3 month old mini fox terrier x (which is about 1/6 Milo's size).

    Today when he played with my cousin's 14 year old dog which was about 1/4 Milo's size, I couldn't tell if Milo was just being gentle or being harrassed and scared. He would touch and lick the older dog gently, and always be the one chased. The other dog's tail was always wagging, though. Is this just how a puppy plays with a senior dog?
    Not sure if they know each others ages. I just think dogs are intuitive with each other and even other animals.

    For instance my pup 8 months will bounce around and carry on with the 3 younger cats at our house who will all take it in stride and won't really give her a proper whack but with our older cat she is extremely respectful and would never act with her the way she acts with the younger ones, Phi knows when not to approach her at all, etc.

    I think they just "know" in most cases

  3. #3
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    It's all in their behaviour I guess. Puppies play hard, and above that age I think it just depends on the individual dog.

  4. #4

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    I think age plays a part, as does size.

    My mums Danes always played very gently with puppies or smaller dogs and were more pushy with larger breeds.

    Older dogs can tend to be a bit grumpy sometimes and that is recognized by younger, more playful dogs.

  5. #5

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    I think they just recognize the behaviour. Puppys and younger dogs generally have a whole super playful body posture going on, whereas an older dog, may have a playful posture, though not the same as the puppies.

  6. #6
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    I think it is a combination of things. The way the dogs respond to each other, size and infancy.

    Dogs will always treat an infant differently. Most species easily recognise an infant.
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
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    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

  7. #7
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    I think too that it can depend on the personality of a particular dog. As with people, some are more intuitive than others, some are more caring, etc etc.

    I've seen a few very interesting interactions, but one that I remember with great fondness is from my pound dog walking days. A couple used to walk on Saturday mornings and bring with them their HUGE Malamute. He was an absolutely delightful dog and used to try so hard to shrink himself to play with other dogs. He was very gentle and it was an amazing sight to see him flat out on the ground trying to be at the other dogs' level.

  8. #8
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    What a lovely story Florence! The Mally sounds gorgeous, I hope he found the perfect home.
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

  9. #9
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    One of my ACDS will play happily with dogs her own age, be subservient to dogs older than her and ignore puppies. I think it depends on the dog really. Some dogs will sense weakness in a very old dog and be mean.

    My pack of six dogs is structured by age. Even though I have several rescues the pecking order ssems to come down to age, There is also a pecking order to each sex - for the girls it is definitely age. For the boys who are close in age it is a continuous pissing and show of strength contest, but they both respect the older females in the group and play with the younger ones.

  10. #10
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    I have noticed that dogs, when playing, only ever use an appropriate amount of force.

    For example, I have a 40kg dog and a 6 kg dog. They are always rough and tumbling. However, the wee dog uses much more force and is much rougher, where as the big dog matches her force, but in proportion to her size if that makes sense???

    Whereas when he has a mate over who is the same size as him, he is much much rougher with them.

    I think most dogs are gentle with puppies, as are all species gentle with young...including humans. Its just a natural thing.

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