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Our new standard puppy, now 9 weeks old, has been playing a lot with our older dog, a small terrier mix who is 4 years old. At this point, they are about the same size and weight, and the play seems fun for them. They chase each other around and pounce and wrestle and nip at one another. They both seem equally enthusiastic about it - if one stops the chase, the other one becomes the chaser.

They seem to have endless energy for these games, and I'm just wondering if I should place any limits on it. It seems to be good exercise for them, but I don't want the puppy to overdo it. Also I worry that the dogs might bond with each other rather than with us.

Am I being overly concerned? Or is it wise to limit their playtime, and if so, what is a good amount of time to allow it?
 

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Great question! I have seen many people who don't have a clue how to read dogs' body language when they are clearly saying "NO" to play or they have just been playing for too long and need a break. I have never set a time limit, but I observe the play carefully. When there starts being less give and take or more noise, or when one or both needs to lie down, or the puppy gets really hyper, these are clues that it's time to have a rest (crated if necessary).

I'm glad things are going really well so far with your dogs--they sound very compatible!
 

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I agree with what MF has already said. To me it sounds great and they are having fun. But if you see it getting out of hand then its nap/crate time for puppy. I think they older dog will give you good indications when she has had enough.
 

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Thanks for the replies :) I'll continue to watch them carefully and separate them when it looks like it's getting too hyper or if one of them seems to be getting tired. I am really happy that they are starting to enjoy each other's company. Also glad they are learning to play with each other now, when they are close in size. I know it won't be long before Siouxsie becomes much bigger, and they are going to have to adjust.
 

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The more fun they have, the better!

It is certainly important to be a keen observer of your dogs, and to intervene if one seems to be seeking protection or safety. But I think it is unlikely that that will be a problem. In my experience, younger dogs, especially poodles, know how to moderate their play in order to keep their playmates interested and willing to play. My boy Sam (age 5) is a lot stronger than Cammie (age 8), but he really likes to play with her, so he is very gentle and sensitive to her needs whenever she wants to play. And I remember a young golden retriever who used to like to play with my first poodle. He'd roll over on his back and assure her that she was the strongest one, even though he was actually a lot stronger and more energetic than she was.
 

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I agree with MaizieFrosty. I'm always in observance.

I have dogs ranging from my Giant who is 8 yrs old to Mr. Layne who is 6 months old. My 2nd oldest weighs in at a whole 6 pounds. At her size, a too playful puppy can be deadly. So I am not only leader but I'm recess attendant as well. When Mr. Layne was a small puppy the older big dogs were too much for him. Now he's a rambunctious ball of energy with mile long legs & he's learning when I say "enough" it's time to cool it. This makes things safe & fun for everyone. Each of my dogs have a different tell for when they've had enough. My Tinkerbell (the next youngest to my SPOO) makes a loud "NIT" sound. My Giant makes a bark that ends in a high pitch. The Collie will flatten her ears as she looks at the pup (or any dog that's starting to annoy her). So each has their own tell. After awhile I can tell before they get there & call it off.

This makes life a lot more fun for everyone involved.
 

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In our puppy class, we interrupt play every few minutes or so, just with a brief hold followed by treats. Probably not necessary for your older dog, but I think it's helpful for a puppy to learn how to turn the excitement on and off.

Of course, if they stop "mirroring" each other, and one is showing signs of being overwhelmed or one or both is over-aroused, we interrupt then, too.

Just a short breather and then back to the fun!
 
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