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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have the lucky happenstance to have one of Charlie’s litter mates in my area. We had a play date Saturday and I’d say they definitely knew each other (Charlie is more suspicious of new dogs). They wrestled and played and sometimes it sounded like it was out of control. Part of me thinks “well
just a week ago they did this all the time”
But it sounds so aggressive and painful. I don’t know when to break it up. Advice please because I really want to continue the play dates but don’t want Charlie hurting his smaller “sister”.
 

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Is Charlie enrolled in a puppy class? It’s helpful to have the guidance of a professional. In Peggy’s class, we would break the puppy play up quite often, as they tended to spiral without occasional breaks. And play sessions at that age were never longer than 20 minutes or so.
 

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I'm as new to this as you are, but I thought puppies generally correct each other as they go, and will get better as time goes on, not worse. Also I think it's good for bite inhibition training, isn't it?
Basically some points for others (more experienced) to touch on, as I'm still very green at this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Is Charlie enrolled in a puppy class? It’s helpful to have the guidance of a professional. In Peggy’s class, we would break the puppy play up quite often, as they tended to spiral without occasional breaks. And play sessions at that age were never longer than 20 minutes or so.
Thank you. He starts puppy class in three weeks-ish. Ok good to know. We both broke up what seemed to be over the top playing but then would reengage when slightly calmer. It is such rough playing for our babies it hard to know when to step in. Maybe never with puppies of the same age/size?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm as new to this as you are, but I thought puppies generally correct each other as they go, and will get better as time goes on, not worse. Also I think it's good for bite inhibition training, isn't it?
Basically some points for others (more experienced) to touch on, as I'm still very green at this.
My thoughts exactly but how do you let your pup bite your (hopefully) new friend/poodle owner?
 

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Thank you. He starts puppy class in three weeks-ish. Ok good to know. We both broke up what seemed to be over the top playing but then would reengage when slightly calmer. It is such rough playing for our babies it hard to know when to step in. Maybe never with puppies of the same age/size?
It’s really not hard once you know what to watch and listen for, but kinda hard to explain without a demonstration. That’s where puppy class will be a big help (providing it’s run by a qualified trainer).

What I typically watch for is mirroring. One pup jumps and tackles, and then the other pup jumps and tackles. It’s like a dance, back and forth and back and forth. If one pup is repeatedly getting rolled or trampled, time for a breather. Breathers only have to be a few seconds in most cases. Let the puppies get their heads screwed back on and then okay! More play! If they immediately go back to uneven play, or you hear a dramatic increase in barking or growling, it’s probably time for a nap.
 

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I had questions about this too when I became a furparent. Don't worry, you will learn it as you continue to level up.

Basil (1 year old, SPOO, 41#) had a playdate with my brother's 12 week~10-15# (I have no clue) Shizu-yorki puppy this weekend, so this what we did.

On the first round, like when they just meet eachother. I look for when the smaller puppy is out of breath. Sometimes it's like 2-5 minutes or 5-10. It's a HUGE dose of fun at once, exciting and sprinting. They're like kids and are focused 100% on have fun. So, I normally hold Basil's back legs up like a wind-up toy. 30-60 seconds rest, okay go. Then, you might hear a verbal communication, like a squeak if someone gets stepped on or if someone's too rough. That part's normal. Then, if they look out of breath again, pick up their back legs. Offer them water. Then there's normally a period of rest, like 5-15 minutes. Then they have a second wind. Play for 5-10 minutes. Get tired again. 5-15 minutes go by. Play again. Then they're drained.

If you (Mom/Dad) are on edge and feel the need to step in then step in. It's 100% okay for Mom or Dad to call a break. No one is judging you.

The back-and-fourth is important, like what Peggy said. So, try to keep an eye out for the back and forth re engaging. It's a sign both pups are having fun. "I chase you, okay now you chase me. Okay, now I chase you again."
 

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I’m not so sure about that leg technique, @Basil_the_Spoo, especially with bendy, growing puppy limbs. I like to work on collar grabs and redirecting focus. It’s a great opportunity for that sort of practise, as the reward—more play!!—is immediate and highly reinforcing.
 

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Between puppies, ignore the noise and drama. Watch what they do. Puppy A jumps on puppy B. Puppy B rolls on back and squeals. Puppy A appears to be trying to eat puppy B. Puppy B leaps up and runs. Puppy A chases. Puppy B turns, jumps on puppy A. Puppy A stumbles. They raise paws and box. There's a great deal of growling and noise while they box. They stop, shake as if wet. Puppy A bends as if to lie down, but the butt remains raised and tail is wagging. Puppy B returns the gesture. Puppy A runs away. Puppy B runs after.

This is what play looks like. It's loud, often there is mock snarling and growling. Both dogs are equally involved in the game. Bodies are loose and wiggly and on the move. They smack each other, roll on the ground, chase each other, play fight, pause, and do it again.

However if you see this: Puppy A chases Puppy B under a chair. Puppy B is hunched in a ball. Puppy B has tail tucked, ears down. Puppy A continues to push head under chair. Puppy B is not having fun. Puppy A needs a time out.

Watch body language. Watch for crouching, hunching, scooting as close to the ground as possible, hiding under things, that's a sign someone is not having fun, and you need to separate them.
 

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I was lucky enough to catch most of an interaction between my two a while back. Canine communication They usually play very well together, taking turn chasing each other, and very rarely have disagreements.
 

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Our puppy play classes had stools and other dog-friendly items that dogs could hide under or behind when things got too intense for them.
 

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The noise can seem very mean spirited. Watch for exactly what Click discussed. Let things continue as long as both puppies are engaging each other. When somebody quits and hides it is time for a time out. I also would try to keep it one on one so you can really see what they are doing. Lily and Javelin are always noisy when they play. Since Lily is twice his age she is often the one to end things first. He can be a dufus about reading that, so I watch for her to curl her lip at him. That means she is really done.
 
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Glad you're feeling reassured. Puppy play can sound like a murder is taking place, so realize that's perfectly normal. Loose, wiggly, romping, leaping, boxing, grunts, growls, and barks, are what you want. If Puppy A is being a bully, Puppy B will crouch, try to hide, and cry. If Puppy B is being chased, rolled, battered, then gets up and runs again with a tail up and body loose, it's play. Some puppies enjoy being chased for fun.

My puppies Francis and Noelle played a game called, "Francis has a thing." Francis would get an item: a stick, a scrap of a toy, and then tease Noelle with her new thing. Then she would take off running. Noelle would chase and try to get the item. Francis dodged her, rolled, and ran away with her thing again. It was loud, and ridiculous, and obviously a game. Noelle never actually tried to get the thing Francis had. And if Francis dropped it, Noelle would wait for Francis to grab the thing and start the game over. They still play Francis has a thing sometimes. Delights me every time I see it.
 

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I think there’s some nuance to the barking and growling that may seem obvious to those who are very experienced with dogs, but can be lost on the average dog owner. Incessant demand barking, for example, is a no-no, as far as I’m concerned, especially if the puppy ignores a little snark from the subject of his demands. The only time Peggy’s ever appeared to be on the verge of a fight was when a young Golden wouldn’t stop barking in her face, despite her escalating efforts to ask him to back off.

I’ve also heard growling go from playful to not-playful in a split second, often accompanied by “pinning” one’s playmate in a not-so-friendly way.

That said, Peggy’s very vocal, and she will growl in myriad tones while playing, none of which are of concern. But it sure can sound scary!
 

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Even when it does escalate to no fun, and it can, there are subtile signs that things are going off the rails long before Puppy A pins Puppy B to the ground in a not so friendly way. Puppy B's running style changes from loose and wiggly to crouching. Always be on the look out for any hunched body posture. If you see it, call the puppies away.

The longer a play session lasts, the more likely things will eventually go sideways. Set a timer for four minutes. After four minutes, train the puppies in basic manners for two minutes, then go back to play.
 

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I agree Click. The longer the play goes without little time outs the more likely it will get out of hand. In my club's puppy classes there are frequent short free plays interrupted by short obedience sessions. Training is so short they don't get bored amd ot is kept fun by making sure it ends with play. People having play dates for their puppies with friends can do the same. There is no special equipment needed.
 
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Click-N-Treat has some great suggestions here:) Plus learn to read Dog body language and calming signals. They are the most useful things I ever learned.
 
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