Although normal play can become intense, it's important to be able to distinguish normal from abnormal behavior. Later in life conflicts may be resolved without a knock down, drag out brawl as the dog’s have their past play to refer to giving them a pretty good idea how things would play out. Puppies can play rough. In the field of animal behavior, researchers often refer to social play as “play fighting” because it includes many of the behaviors seen during real fights. Other than that, an older dog can also come helpful in teaching your puppy the ways to play. When does a line get crossed between play fighting and a dog actually exhibiting aggressive behavior? Crossing the Line. Shake the can when your puppy is aggressive to your older dog and say “No!” loudly. This can be common with puppies trying to engage in play with an older dog that just wants to take a nap. Although some older dogs will play with the new puppy and enjoy it, as the older dog ages, he’s going to want less playtime and more relaxation and peace. When your older dog wants to play, let him set the tone of the play. Puppy play consists of chasing, pouncing, barking, growling and biting. As a general rule I let dogs work things out, but how an older dog might respond to a younger can really vary and sometimes we do need to intervene. In general, as long as both dogs appear to be having a good time -- as evidenced by an open, relaxed "smile" or pant, a posture that leans into the action, occasional bows to the opposing dog and a frolicking or bouncy gate, there is little need to break up a play fight or worry too much about biting. This works best when there is only the puppy involved but you really don’t want to punish the older dog so try to shake the can in the puppy’s ear. Many pet owners mistake normal play behavior as aggression or laugh off behavior that is a warning sign for truly aggressive behavior. Is it ok? Puppy, play fighting with older dog. A little fighting is a natural part of the growing up process for dogs. For instance, tug-of-war is a popular game among dogs … Puppies assert dominance with play fighting. We focus primarily on dog play that some might consider “inappropriate” or “not safe.” When dog play fighting is acceptable and what dogs growling while playing means. Signs of dog aggression include raised hackles, stiffness, snapping, or lunging. We examine rough play between dogs. Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by WhatWouldSidDo, Jan 12, 2013. Joined: Nov 17, 2012 Messages: 351 Likes Received: 4. For instance, tug-of-war is a popular game among dogs and puppies can learn this game by simply watching. Alfie the 10 week old lab mix playing with Charli the Retriever / Norwegian Buhund WhatWouldSidDo PetForums Member. 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