How To Get Well Mannered Play From Your Dog

What I want to say about younger puppies and play styles.

Critical element:  Well Mannered Play.  If you bring a younger puppy into your home and you have an older, soft-tempered dog, your puppy play with your soft-tempered dog, especially if there’s no pushback from the older dog, is going to be just like he does with his littermates.  This is going to be wrestling and jumping on the older dogs, also some mouthing and biting of the scruff and things like that.

With no pushback, what the puppy begins to learn is this is acceptable dog play.

Meaning,  once he’s fully vetted and he gets into a dog park, this play style is not going to bode well with many other dogs and then fights may ensue.

What do you do?  You train for well mannered play.

You really temper the play with your older dog.

Make your corrections using positive reinforcement. 

We tend to let the puppy and the dog kind of play with each other, burn some energy, and that’s good for us because we don’t have to worry about doing that with a new puppy with all of that energy.  

But here’s another thing that begins to happen.

The puppy’s main relationship is going to be with the older dog, and the only relationship possibly that he’s going to see between owners and himself is that if you correct bad behavior, chewing on furniture, house holding, and stuff like that.

You can begin to see this contrasting difference between, “I like to play with my sibling because that’s a good positive relationship that I can understand”, your pup might think, “but it’s these people in the house, these two legged people, that are giving me a bunch of trouble here.”

Be careful how you interact with your puppy.

Be sensitive and aware to the fact that you need to create a good working relationship with your puppy.

Do obedience training with him.

Spend a lot of time with him.

Most assuredly, make sure that the interaction between your puppy and your older dog is one that is easy-going so that he learns how to have well mannered play. Just redirect to a chew toy or something like that if he’s on your other dog.

Your other dog, as soft-tempered of a nature that he or she might be, would probably appreciate it. I hope that explains it a little bit more. 

4 replies
  1. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    You are allowing your dogs to make the decisons instead of you. If you continue to let them occupy your personal space when they want to, then the behavior will continue as they have
    no need to look to you for direction. The basic principles of getting good dog behavior never change.

  2. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Clip a cotton long line (8 to 10 ft) to her collar and hold it while she starts to play, watch her carefully and the minute you see the posture she gives before she pounces
    say No Off and give a tug on the long line and immediately reirect. Whe I say TUG, I mean a strong tug but NOT a hard yank.

  3. jennifer M Smith
    jennifer M Smith says:

    Jim, help as you have done so many times. My rescue Schnauzers now 6 and 7. The younger has started to become very dominant. Not with me but with his older “friend” both neutered. They sit beside me in my chair. No, not only spoiling but use them as arm rests. Jamie the older abused dog has a favourite side. Dane now tries to intimidate him out of that place (after 5 years). He sits on him if he doesn’t move. Jamie allows it or gets off chair. Both have been equally petted whichever side. I know the obvious thing is put them both off chair but that it taking away my arm/shoulder help. Do I leave them alone to sort it out or bump Dane the bossy one. Never any overt sgression. Just flat sits on him?? Ideas please.

  4. Patty
    Patty says:

    Thanks for this video. I needed his. My older dog is not soft but my puppy still needs me to correct as she will not leave the older dog alone even with my corrections, the older dog’s corrections and my redirecting the puppy with toys. She plays nicely with toys for maybe 5 minutes then she is jumping on, smothering unwanted kisses on my older dog.

    We have been working on this for more minutes for months now.

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