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I was wondering what some of your thoughts were on rough play in puppy class. I have a 4 month standard, Lucy, and we just started our 2nd series of puppy classes. The class was recommended by the vet and we've been very happy up to now. In the last of the first series of Puppy 1 classes, there was a lab which was a little bigger than Lucy that was playing very rough, knocking her over backwards, etc. and eventually knocked my grandson over so hard that you could hear his head hit the floor. One of the instructers was watching the puppies play and said that Lucy got up and still played so it was okay. The classes were over for that session, so I figured we wouldn't see the rougher dog again. Lucy played very well with the other dogs and especially liked playing with a Bernice Mountain dog. Well, we started the 2nd series of Puppy 2 class and during free play the dogs were divided into 2 groups - Lucy being 1 of 3 of the bigger dogs. There was a much rougher dog in the group of 3 that prevented Lucy and the other dog from playing and kept jumping on top and trapping Lucy and the other dog. The instructor kept saying to take a break when this happened and then to let the dogs play. The dogs couldn't play but a few seconds without this dog playing very rough and jumping on top & trapping Lucy and the other and having to take a break. Finally, I pulled Lucy out from under this dog and said that she'd had enough. The instructor acted like this was okay for this behavior and said that Lucy still played so she was fine. To me, it seems like this will make Lucy either aggresive or become scared of some dogs and shouldn't be dominated until she won't be around the dogs. I remember a vet once tell me that you can make a dog mean. If this happens again next week, I'm going to talk to the instructor. I was just wondering what other's have experienced and what your thoughts were. Thanks and sorry this is so long!
 

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Large breed puppies aren't so great at controlling their bodies. They don't realize their strength, they don't know their own size, they don't know proper dog manners and the only way they learn is through other dogs.
It's fine to pull your dog out when you feel it's getting too rough, but you also want your dog to learn and other dogs to learn what is okay and what is not on their own. Personally, I wouldn't step in until I heard a yelp or something.

What your vet said is true. The owner really shapes their dog's temperament. You could be doing more harm than good by always "rescuing" Lucy from rough and tumble play times.
Poodles are strong dogs, don't underestimate what your girl can handle.
 

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I don't think these classes have any value what so ever. I took my puppy to one once and promptly left. I think these mob scenes are dangerous and overwhelming for many dogs.

I prefer to socialize my puppies with older dogs who will quietly but firmly teach my puppy manners and good dog social skills.

If I'm going to get together with young dogs, I like it to be in a controlled puppy Kindergarten class where we are working on beginning training with the distraction of other young dogs. This way the puppies can meet and interact, but they can be kept from going all Lord of the Flies.
 

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I don't like the idea of dogs of any description being allowed to play roughly. I introduce my dogs to others on the lead. If all goes well then they are allowed to sniff and generally mill around, but not to race around getting wound up. I have two dogs and they play together and sometimes visit with other dogs but in the main they play and train with me. Together with another dog owner with two dogs, we walk the meadows and the dogs are more than happy to behave like a little pack, all doing their own thing but keeping an eye on each other and their owners.

Just today, a large dog came bounding over the fields, with the intention of playing roughly with my girls. It was too big and they are too small, but how was the dog to know that its attentions were not wanted, especially if it has been allowed to throw its weight around at a puppy class.
 

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Hmm...there wasn't really any rough play allowed in our puppy classes, but no one ever said anything, the dogs just did not. Bella was only one of three bigger dogs anyway and pretty standoffish since it was her first socializing. Most of the class was in class format, with just one break.

If your's has a similiar format is there anyway you could just walk her away from the others at break time?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for everyone's input! I agree that the puppies should play and learn through the other puppies yelping and set boundaries. There was a little of this during the first Puppy 1 class. This play was more than the normal jumping and tumbling and putting each other in line. The instructor did keep calling a break so the rough puppy could settle down. I'll wait and see what happens in the next few weeks and if I'm not comfortable I guess I'll talk with the instructor. Lucy seems to love dogs so much, I just don't want that to change!
 
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