Our childhood was full of fun and we remember tickling, playing tag, kiss chase and bundle. From the outside some of our games looked quite boisterous and even mistaken for fighting or being overly aggressive. We know that if both parties were enjoying the game then there was no harm and actually was a way of us to learn our boundaries and that of the other children. If the game got too rough we would walk away and end the game, or make it clear that we were not happy.
This is very similar for puppies.
What is Rough n Tumble?
Rough-and-tumble play is social puppy play that involves physical contact, fun, and positive emotions.
Rough-and-tumble play shapes many physical, social, emotional, and cognitive behaviours. Puppies learn self-control, compassion, boundaries, and about their own abilities compared to other puppies.
Rough and Tumble includes chasing, grabbing, and pushing other dogs. If your dog is well socialise they will have the skills required to keep the situation under control. You’ll notice that good Rough and Tumble is a give and take mutual game and you’ll see your dog pause regularly, this allows the excitement to die down and also they reassess their playmate. If both dogs are playing at the same level and keeping a nice level of intensity then this is perfect fun play.
If the excitement level gets too high or one of the puppies hasn’t learnt boundaries and social skills then the Rough and Tumble can turn to Rough Housing and aggressive play.
You need to observe your dog and their playmate, if one or the other is not enjoying the play, getting over hyped and starting to loose control, or one puppy is cowering - tail between legs trying to get away, then the balance has changed and it’s time to recall your puppy away and calm the situation.
When it comes to safe play you need to feel comfortable, bottom line, if you are not happy with the play end it. If the play makes you nervous recall your puppy. If it’s your puppy getting over excited take them away from the stimulation until they have calmed down. Be careful when breaking up Rough Housing so that you don’t accidentally get nipped. Try distraction your puppy with your voice and treats luring them and distracting them from the action play.
Puppy play is essential for puppy growth, keep it safe and fun. Find puppies and dogs who are on the same level as your puppy.