Author Topic: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..  (Read 6196 times)

Lyn

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Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« on: June 14, 2006, 09:07:56 am »
I need some advice on this..

Bubba is the king of rough play.. He's just so pushy and persistant that most dogs don't like it. He tries to make dogs play with him. It doesn't help that he's generally so much larger than they are. He's been snarled at and put in his place by friends dogs but 2 seconds later will push the envelope again trying to initiate play. :( It never escalates into violence because I always intervene.. but still worries me none the less. :(

When another dog has had enough and give him a warning nip/growl instead of toning it down he's starts bouncing up and down and doing what I call the play with me bow. Front end on the ground and butt up in the air, sometime he will also let out a woof. I've seen perfectly friendly dogs go into attack mode when he does this. Is there some hidden issue that I'm missing? Or is it just because he's not heeding their warnings that they have had enough? It's like Bubba doesn't understand doggy language if that makes any sense. lol

I went to a trainer because I thought maybe it was a dominace/possible aggression issue.. but the trainer described it as "Nervous excitement" Let me try to explain his behaviour/body language.. He starts to bounce as soon as he sees a dog, he then get's all excited.. His whole body wiggles (like when he greet us when he come home after being out), tail going a mile a minute. Then his hackles raise (this is the part that disturbs me). He never reacts aggressivly even when he bitten, he just continues on playing like it's normal even if he's bleeding from the nip. ???

As most of you know we are hoping to add another puppy to our household before the end of summer. I'm thinking alot of the problem is that Bubba doesn't see other dogs that often.. and he just don't know how to behave. :-\ I'm hoping another dog would give him a play buddy and settle him down some when it comes to other dogs.

But I'm just concerned about this rough play and odd body language and I was hoping someone here could give me some insight, or just share your opinions?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2006, 09:09:08 am by Lyn »

Offline AC

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 09:28:57 am »
You have just descibed Angus, he used to be just like that. It took a big dog to put him in his place, to show him the ropes. He now heeds the warning signals from other dogs. I did not think he would ever listen! I think at the dogpark, the alpha dogs rarely react to puppy play as they are confident in their position. The middle dogs are the ones who are unsure of their place in the pack and Bubba's size would disrupt the understanding of their place and they are nervous around him. It just may take a big, confident dog to show Bubba the rope's on what is acceptable behaviour. Plus if Angus gets to rough, I put him in a timeout and when he sits or lies down and relaxes I let him play again. If he continues to play to rough, I leash him up and we go for a walk instead.

Offline Moni

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2006, 10:40:47 am »
lol  You just described Tenchi to a "T".  As much as I love him, he is a complete moron when it comes to other dogs saying "BACK OFF".  So when he gets rambunctious I give the other dogs a break and just put him on a down stay for a bit. 

Even when playing with his 'fursiblings', they'll tell him off and he just backs off for a second and then jumps right back in wanting to wrestle some more.  Poor Tenchi has gotten numerous nicks and scratches from trying to play "Tag, you're it" with Zeo and Mojo.  It still doesn't really phase him though.  He's just a huge dingbat and doesn't understand that other dogs get annoyed by his obnoxious doofiness.  It doesn't make it right though, so I try and intervene on the other dogs' behalf.

As far as the hackles, Tenchi's go up to when he gets over excited.  I'm pretty sure that hackles and the tail wagging are signs of excitement, either happy or angry.  At least it has always seemed like that with dogs that I've been around.  Though it is odd that they are thought of as either one or the other.  I liken it to people who grin when they are nervous.  Its not really the norm, but there are people who respond like that.
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Offline wiss329

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2006, 11:26:51 am »
I'm also familiar with the "play with me bow".

I think sometimes a combination of the size and energy of our dogs can bring out the worst in other dogs.   I've noticed that in the past when we've taken Max on walks or to the dog park, another dog will not respond well to Max's jumpy excitement and they will snarl at him.  Their owner then usually responds with "Sorry, he/she is never like that."

I'd bet Bubba would learn more on how to act when another dog joins the family.  We also have an "only child" and ours has probably missed out on some of the learning opportunities he would have in a multi-dog family.

Offline AC

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2006, 11:47:41 am »
The "play with me bow".... the other dogs don't seem to excited about it!!

Offline WhiteShepherdDog

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2006, 11:53:55 am »
My two cents:
Allowing dog-to-dog 'play'using their bodies is encouraging 'fight behavior'....no two ways about it.
What we monkeys think of as dog-to-dog play is "play fighting" or brawling.
In the canine world, the purpose of D2D play is to hone fighting skills (up on back legs, vocalizations, etc).
I encourage my big dogs to use an "object" for play--not their bodies.....
You can create a tug toy with several ends and teach multiple dogs to play with it without encouraging sparring and brawling.
Honestly, if more people understood the body language of dog parks and body slamming/rough play, I doubt they would be surprised that so many "fights" break out among dogs.
You have a window of opportunity to have mother and siblings teach social behaviors and for other socialization experiences for a few months, but reality, is the puppy mills remove most dogs so young, they don't learn the important lessons of submission from mom.
If we want to have a healthy relationship with our canine companions, teach them to use objects to play with other dogs...
Also good way to test if you have a good relationship with dogs....can you get the object from them easily?
Do they guard the object?
Maybe need to do some basic training to assert yourself as leader of the pack, if so.
I do not encourage my dogs to run up to anyone or other dogs off leash...
Our dogs "play" with *us* on agility equipment; hide and seek (search and rescue); tracking (find the cheese in the grass!)for exercise and we walk them to form a special bond with us.
Given that there are so many puppy mill dogs loose at dog parks, not under off leash control I don't want my dogs subjected to 'bad manners'.
Our dogs have a few dog friends outside the family that we join (with owners) for walks off and on leash...
they don't body slam or run around, they act like we are the pack leaders and they are the pack....
Regards,
Martha in Texas

Offline newflvr

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2006, 11:57:31 am »
The "play with me bow".... the other dogs don't seem to excited about it!!


That's exactly what Chester does!!!  I think it's adorable and I'd play with them.  I do think it really is just their size that overwhelms other dogs...and they need to be careful with that 'gift'.  That's what socialization is supposed to do....

doggylover

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2006, 12:01:19 pm »
I need some advice on this..



As most of you know we are hoping to add another puppy to our household before the end of summer. I'm thinking alot of the problem is that Bubba doesn't see other dogs that often.. and he just don't know how to behave. :-\ I'm hoping another dog would give him a play buddy and settle him down some when it comes to other dogs.

But I'm just concerned about this rough play and odd body language and I was hoping someone here could give me some insight, or just share your opinions?

From everything I have learned, and seen other people even on these boards go through, I would strongly suggest you put all of your resources/money into helping Bubba past this issue before adding any other animal to the house.
Training, socialization one on one with other dogs, basic treatment for the anxiety/dominance whatever the issue turns out to be needs to take place first.
The thing is, it's pretty obvious from your posts that you ADORE Bubba, but it usually doesn't help to add a puppy to 'help' the other dog...it's kinda like thinking having a baby will fix a bad marriage. 
These are just my thoughts, I know you love Bubba and want only the very best for him!
Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
Ronda   

Lyn

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2006, 02:35:33 pm »
Thank you all for the advice! Greatly appreciated. ;D It's good to know that Bubba isn't abnormal.

Just to fill you all in... I spoke with a different trainer on the phone after I posted this.. she said this is common in households where there is only one dog. Seeing other dogs is an exciting thing for him and he can't contain his boundless excitement. She recommended daily controlled play sessions with other dogs, and correcting him when he goes overboard. She said mentally he's just a big puppy which I already knew lol.. and the daily play sessions would desensitize him in a sense. Now the problem is finding dogs for him to play with everyday. :( I did mentioned about getting a puppy to her she thought that would be a good thing for him...that he needs more exposure to other dogs in general.

We did socialize him like crazy with people and he attended puppy classes but since I live in the middle of nowhere he doesn't see other dogs that much. Even when we take him into town and walk around the park we never see other dogs, just geese and ducks, lol.

He doesn't have any alpha, guarding or aggression problems. He willingly gives up his toys, food etc.. He just plays like a maniac. LOL

I just want to mention too.. that he does eventually settle down and stop being a tool. It's just getting him to settle down. If I remove him from the area and he can't see the other dog at all, he whines his fool head off the entire time. And if I let him back in the room with the other dog he's even MORE excited than he was before..

He acts similar with our company that comes over. But once he says 'hi' to everyone he goes and lays down. Now I just need to get him to do that with other dogs.

Edit, forgot to mention Bubba is 16 months old.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2006, 02:48:42 pm by Lyn »

Offline shangrila

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2006, 07:30:21 pm »
I think the trainer had a great idea to have supervised daily play times to help him learn proper play behavior.... I think that it's perfectly normal for him to do the play bow. I think it is a little bit odd that he raises his hackles, but I wouldn't be too concerned unless his tail is wagging low instead of high (high wag = excited, low wag = nervous)
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Lyn

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2006, 07:21:36 am »
It's a high wag. But I thought carrying the tail high meant high confidence/dominance. I thought it was something that was going to possibly escalate but after searching some more in can mean a high level of excitement. The second trainer I spoke with is going to write me out some things to try. I know she mentioned the settle command which we do use. I just need to get him to focus on me better when there is another dog around since as soon as his excitement kicks in I don't exist.

I need to mention this I feel like an idiot.. But during the consultation the first trainer, he did some things to Bubba that I didn't agree with. When he brought out the other dog, Bubba went from happy, excited and bouncy to tail between his legs and peeing on himself. Basically he put a prong collar on Bubba. I have nothing against those collars.. but Bubba is very submissive and with the first good yank he litterally dropped to his belly and peed on himself. I was horrified :'( I immediately made him remove the collar and left. That did nothing but scare the crap out of him and he refused to move, he wanted nothing to do with the other dog after that and I don't blame him. But now I feel like a tool and hope that situation didn't just make things even worse. As I was leaving the trainer say "You have to be firm with these large breeds"  ::) >:( Being firm and scaring the dog to point where he pees on himself are two different things. UGH. I just needed to get that out. :'(

Lyn

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2006, 12:39:56 pm »
I'll see if I can get my SIL to bring over her doggy. They can't actually play together since the SIL's dog doesn't tolerate Bubba's play antics but I'll just get my SIL to stand outside the fence.. and I'll work with Bubba inside fence. This way he can't get chewed and I can work on getting him to focus his attention. I'm hoping this will help too with him mauling our company.

I was going to try a prong with Bubba but settled on the gentle leader since I was worried about using it incorrectly and I wasn't sure how to properly fit one. But with this guy it was the way he was using it. He yanked straight up and rather hard. Not just a quick snap like correction to get his attention. He lifted his front feet off the ground. The thought didn't even cross my mind that something like that would happen. I'm still shocked that he even did that.

Ronda.. I just noticed your post. It's been a long day. LOL The GOOD trainer that I spoke with said he just needs more exposure to other dogs. He's just over excited and not showing any signs of aggression/dominance. It's the super high level of excitement that we need to snap him out of. She thinks that having another dog in our household would help him. We not getting another dog just for Bubba. We all want another dog. But I'm hoping another dog would also help my son. He's been having a tough time this year, long story but it's nothing health related. But I'm hoping this dog will get him motived.. I want to get him into obedience with the pup.. and maybe showing also. Just for fun stuff. 

doggylover

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2006, 02:55:20 pm »


Ronda.. I just noticed your post. It's been a long day. LOL The GOOD trainer that I spoke with said he just needs more exposure to other dogs. He's just over excited and not showing any signs of aggression/dominance. It's the super high level of excitement that we need to snap him out of. She thinks that having another dog in our household would help him. We not getting another dog just for Bubba. We all want another dog. But I'm hoping another dog would also help my son. He's been having a tough time this year, long story but it's nothing health related. But I'm hoping this dog will get him motived.. I want to get him into obedience with the pup.. and maybe showing also. Just for fun stuff. 
I'm so so glad the trainer felt that way, my opinions usually err on the side of not rocking the doggy boat, because it is just SO painful if things go wrong.  Of course you know your dog best, and your trainer sounds great.  SOOOOOOO when will this new puppy be with us?  I LOVE puppies!!!!!

doggylover

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2006, 07:16:32 pm »
OMG there is NO WAY I wouldn't be going and get the 'leftover' pup!  Waiting for a puppy to 'ripen' is TORTURE!  I bet that little Landseer is destined to be YOUR PUP!
LOLOL sorry, had to add my puppy 2 cents!

Lyn

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Re: Rough play and body language.. Opinions..
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2006, 06:22:46 am »
I know the wait is killing me already. The pup that's left is a different pup from the one I posted before. The one I wanted is sold. :(

This pup is adorable.. but she's a very bold and confident girl. I could see her taking over this house in no time. LOL I'm too much of a softy.. and so is my hubby even though he doesn't like to admit it. heheh