Saturday, October 2, 2010

Puppy Play

One of the main reasons to go to a dog park is to play with other dogs. Many dogs play nicely with others and the dog park offers a great selection of playing styles. With Colt, I like to body slam (I am the only girl he'll play with because I don't snarl at him when it gets a bit rough - I just run faster). I explore, bound and gently wrestle with Emma - she's my soulmate. Ella and Stella are always good for a run. And I never pass up a chance to play with a puppy. 

Emma is always game!
Mind you, puppies can be tough at the dog park. People bring them before they are ready - the people, that is. Most people are smart enough to leave the really young ones at home as the dog park is no place for infants. But I have found that many puppy owners are new owners and don't really understand dog play. They can be nervous - protective of their charges and also self-concious of their puppies' manners. They often rebuke their pups for being rude when they are just being pups. Yet they freak when the older dogs rebuke their pups to put them in their place. But I love pups and I think it shows so most folks let me play with the youngsters.

Puppy/adult dog rules are different. Good grown-up dogs don't hurt puppies even when puppies get out of line. We may bark or growl if those really sharp puppy teeth hit a tender spot. But mature dogs understand puppies are puppies. We give them a lot of latitude. That said, dog play in general can look dangerous to newbies. But to a trained eye, it is easy to sort out the fun and games from the worrisome.

Watch these video clips* of Gracie, a Corgi/Beagle pup (ten months) and me playing. Notice I am on the ground and she is in the dominant position the whole time. That is my choice, of course. Everyone knows who is in charge here. It should be noted that wrestling adult dogs should take turns as submissive/dominant or it ain't play. But puppies have to learn all the rules and that takes practice. So they get pretend they are powerful. 

In another year, Gracie might be another bossy little Borgi and I wouldn't be down in the dirt with her biting my face. But today, she's a hoot!

*The real reason Susan took this video was because Gracie is goofy looking version of me. She actually meant to take photos but is still pretty clueless about her new iPhone and took video by accident. I promise her skills will improve. Otherwise I might have to take her new iPhone and bury it.

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