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Thread: Inappropriate dog play

  1. #1
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    Default Inappropriate dog play

    Our 18mo pup has the annoying habit of latching on to our male dog's (Rhys) neck skin when they play. Often the play is initiated by my two adult dogs and pup just joins in. But she almost always just hangs on to him which just isn't good.

    Rhys is quite a push over. He'll protect his food, but that's about it.

    I had to tell my older female Banjo off regularly at first for being too rough with him. But now they play beautifully. They take turns, Banjo will do dive rolls when he tries to tackle her and he usually gives as good as he gets.

    But the pup is a one trick pony. Banjo rarely interferes so Rhys then eventually has to stop interacting with her so he can shake the pup off. I wish he'd just tell her off! She'd never dare do that to Banjo as she enforces boundaries with other dogs. But it now seems to always end up being Banjo and the pup chasing Rhys and no chance to take turns until the pup's annoying behaviour interrupts the game.

    I will call the pup to me and will go get her if she doesn't come (not always easy with three dogs jumping around). Is there anything else can do to make pup adopt a healthier form of play? The calling makes Banjo often stop dead too...

    Best case scenario is it this pup gets adopted soon. But is it ever possible for 3 dogs to play nicely together?

  2. #2

  3. #3
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    My problem is that I know what healthy play should look like but don't know what the best way is to intervene if it doesn't go well.

    I use lots of praise when they're on the right track, but I think my interventions when it goes wrong aren't helpful. Especially when pup ignores me until I go get her and Banjo stops playing immediately even though she's not the main problem.

    Banjo rarely plays with the pup but when she does they are fine because pup knows quite well that she'll get told off if she oversteps the line. So there's lots of jumping around and silliness but minimal biting and grabbing.

    It is still dodgy if Rhys then decides to join in because Banjo will eventually tell him off when she feels ganged up on.

    But pup and Rhys are the main problem because it's all one sided. Pup just relentlessly nips and hangs on to him and all he'll do is shake her off. Then when Banjo joins in, he'll eventually just roll over and I have to rescue him.

    I'm about to take both adult dogs to the river without the pup so they can have a nice play again. (Or I might take her and have her on the lead most of the time.)

  4. #4

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    From your description – I would suggest that Rhys is the problem pup.

    Are the 3 of them together when you are not there ? How are they when you get home ? All waggly tails ? No aggro between them ? All happy pups to see you ?

    How long have you had him ? Do you know his history at all ? Was he an ‘only lonely’ before he came into rescue and with you ?

    It appears to me - that Rhys is able to take a correction from Banjo – but is unable to correct the pup when she needs to be corrected. He is missing that important lesson when he was growing up.

    Rhys’ behaviour, in the situation you described – seems like a pup that was corrected –maybe severely - by people whenever he growled. So, as soon as you come into the equation – he is on his back and acting defensive.

    But pup and Rhys are the main problem because it's all one sided. Pup just relentlessly nips and hangs on to him and all he'll do is shake her off. Then when Banjo joins in, he'll eventually just roll over and I have to rescue him.
    In this instance, I would be taking the pup out of the threesome – not Rhys. The pup needs to go into ‘time-out’ to calm down. Pups are like water – they will always go the way with the least resistance. Rhys is fun to play with – whereas Banjo is good up to a point - then the pup gets a correction !

    Check your body language – because I don’t believe Rhys feels that he is being rescued. I think he feels he has done wrong and is being corrected by you.

    So, your idea of having the 3 of them playing together with you around – I would forget about it. It will not work. You will need to look at having just Banjo and one of the pups playing at any one time. You will need to find the 3rd wheel something else to do in the meantime. Banjo, being the one that stays until she has had enough. Banjo is teaching both the pups a good lesson when she corrects them.

    When my little girl came home as an 8 week old – I made the decision to allow Riley to correct her – without me interfering at all ! I am very pleased to say it was the best decision I have ever made.

    The little girl is now 2 ½ and there has been no blood and no damage to her – other than her pride - in all that time. He has pinned her ears to the ground a few times – but it was all noise ! Usually now, he just gives her a certain ‘look’ and she hits ‘the deck’ !

    They play really well together. Riley even puts up with 'Madam' putting her 2 front legs around his neck and pull his head down - so she can lick inside his ears ! He loves it !

  5. #5
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    I never thought I'd ever praise a dog for growling or snapping, but I have done so on the couple of occasions that Rhys did that to the pup. But it happens way too rarely to have any effect.

    I've no idea of Rhys' background. I'm pretty sure he lived with other dogs before we got him. And maybe he's just only encountered gentle, polite dogs?

    He's actually not been that easy to bond with. He's just a bit standoffish. He's gorgeous and usually no trouble at all. But he still doesn't quite feel like my dog. Still more like a temporary foster.

    Maybe I just have to be patient, manage this as best as I can and work more on training and bonding with Rhys after the pup leaves and see where that leads us.

    It took Banjo quite a while to get used to fosters coming and going. Maybe it'll be the same for Rhys?

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