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Bear&Duke

How To Stop Rough Play

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I have an 18 month old male de-sexed Keeshond Bear and a four month old male Cocker Spaniel puppy Duke who seem to really love each other but Bear plays rough and it scares me. Duke loves Bear, they are always trying to get at each other and seem to really enjoy each other company but I need to teach Bear to play softer with Duke.

At times they are ok and will play nicely, taking turns being submissive; mostly Duke is on his back but sometimes Bear lets Duke climb all over him while he’s on his back. But Bear can get really excited and doesn’t listen when Duke is crying because he’s hurting him. I am so scared about the size difference; Bear is 20kg, Duke only 6kg and I wonder if I intervene too much. As soon as Duke yelps I will pull Bear away and tell him No in a stern voice and then let him play with Duke again but within minutes Duke will be crying again. Bear also seems to pick on Duke ears and will be mouthing them and pulling them.

Now Bear has other behavioral issues which we are dealing with a trainer as he is overly dominant with us and he seems to be coming along quite well with that training but it doesn’t seem to be applying to his play time with Duke.

Their play is ALWAYS supervised at the moment due to Bear’s inability to back off when Duke tells him to but I need to know how to get him past this rough play so they can spend time unsupervised and eventually spend the day together outside while my partner and I are at work. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Guest lavendergirl   
Guest lavendergirl

I don't have the expertise to help either but wonder what your trainer says about the situation? I would be very worried about the 4 month old cocker being hurt or otherwise traumatised. You could perhaps try cross posting in either General or Training to elicit some more responses from those with some training background. I hope you can get some help.

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Its really hard isn't it dwilds...

Thanks for the tip Lavendergirl, i have posted in the General Forum as well. My trainer thinks that once we get Bear under our control where by he stops challenging us it will flow on to Duke, but I can't say that I'm hopeful. They have also told us Bear's barking will stop once we get him under control but it has actually got worse :cry: I know it usually gets worse before it gets better but i am at my wits end.

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Red Fox   

My only advice is to keep them separate. It's not that hard, just fence off part of your yard or build a run. Dogs can still be 'together' outside but can't get at each other, you will be more relaxed knowing the pup is safe too.

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My only advice is to keep them separate. It's not that hard, just fence off part of your yard or build a run. Dogs can still be 'together' outside but can't get at each other, you will be more relaxed knowing the pup is safe too.

This is what I currently do and it is working, the other dogs are slowly learning to be calm so they can be with the pup but until the pup is a lot bigger they are going to be separate, except for supervised times together or the pup decides to climb the fence embarrass.gif because she is over excited to get to me. though she has only been with me for 3 weeks I have a lot of training to do with all my dogs.

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My only advice is to keep them separate. It's not that hard, just fence off part of your yard or build a run. Dogs can still be 'together' outside but can't get at each other, you will be more relaxed knowing the pup is safe too.

I agree, their play time is very limited at the moment as it's too stressful for all of us. I think in a way this makes it worse as it's such a novelty when they do get to play a little but maybe once Duke grows more he will have the weight behind him to tell Bear off. The trainer has also suggested a good dog park where the owners are real dog people and will allow their dogs to tell Bear off when he's playing too rough. Were we are the owners have a fit if their dog even shows slight annoyance even though I ask that they let their dog put him in his place. Unfortunately this means Bear thinks is rules over everyone and everything :banghead:

Patience, Patience... Can you tell it's not my strong point? :grimace:

Thanks so much for your help

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I'm sorry but that advice from your trainer is ridiculous Don't put your dog or anyone elses dog in that position because it will just lead to fights and won't do anything to help your training if I was you I would find a new trainer

Edited by dwilds

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Red Fox   

My only advice is to keep them separate. It's not that hard, just fence off part of your yard or build a run. Dogs can still be 'together' outside but can't get at each other, you will be more relaxed knowing the pup is safe too.

I agree, their play time is very limited at the moment as it's too stressful for all of us. I think in a way this makes it worse as it's such a novelty when they do get to play a little..

Yeah it can be. I keep my two completely separate, we use a combo of baby gates, crates/pens and a dog run to do so. It can be a little stressful in the beginning but as you form a routine it becomes very easy and second nature

..but maybe once Duke grows more he will have the weight behind him to tell Bear off. The trainer has also suggested a good dog park where the owners are real dog people and will allow their dogs to tell Bear off when he's playing too rough. Were we are the owners have a fit if their dog even shows slight annoyance even though I ask that they let their dog put him in his place. Unfortunately this means Bear thinks is rules over everyone and everything :banghead:

Patience, Patience... Can you tell it's not my strong point? :grimace:

Thanks so much for your help

I'm sorry but that advice from your trainer is ridiculous Don't put your dog or anyone elses dog in that position because it will just lead to fights and won't do anything to help your training if I was you I would find a new trainer

I agree with Dwilds 100% here. You do NOT want other dogs telling off your pup. In doing so you are taking a huge risk. Do you know these dogs? Are you 100% sure that they are reliable in temperament and wont damage your pup? Not a risk I would take I can assure you!

A pup is very impressionable and a small mistake now could easily lead to a lifetime of dog aggression. The majority of dogs just are just not solid enough to let it slide and you are setting yourself up for potential disaster IMO.

It's also not natural or necessary for dogs to interact with those outside their own pack - no matter how 'nice' we may think it is.

What you need is KNOWN, TRUSTED, NEUTRAL dogs who will ignore your dog.

What state are you in? I'd seriously consider finding yourself a new trainer...

AS far as the dominance issues, have a look at Leerburg. Heaps of free articles there, particularly the ones establishing pack structure. I'll see if I can find a linky for you.smile.gif

ETA: have a look here: http://leerburg.com/articles.htm

These should get you started

Ground work / establishing pack structure with Adult dogs: http://leerburg.com/groundwork.htm

Introducing dogs/puppies: http://leerburg.com/introducingdogs.htm

Dog parks: http://leerburg.com/dogparks.htm

Socialisation- puppies: http://leerburg.com/socializepuppies.htm

Puppy groundwork: http://leerburg.com/puppygroundwork.htm

Edited by SecretKei

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Red Fox   

Also

Bear thinks is rules over everyone and everything

That's a handler problem, not a dog problem. The handler needs to put the dog in his place, not other dogs.wink.gif

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geeze that leeburg guy is hard on the people seeking his advice!!!! i also dont agree with alot of what he says... im all for using runs and crates etc.. but it is unrealistic for pet people who wish to have 2 dogs to not let them play lol he thinks they should be kept seperate and not be left unsupervised.. doesnt sound like much fun to me...! i know many people who have strong leadership with their dogs nad they have 6 or so together in the yrd all day unsupervised and never a drama...

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Red Fox   

geeze that leeburg guy is hard on the people seeking his advice!!!! i also dont agree with alot of what he says... im all for using runs and crates etc.. but it is unrealistic for pet people who wish to have 2 dogs to not let them play lol he thinks they should be kept seperate and not be left unsupervised.. doesnt sound like much fun to me...! i know many people who have strong leadership with their dogs nad they have 6 or so together in the yrd all day unsupervised and never a drama...

Perhaps a little extreme in his ideas but he he knows what he is talking about. His pack structure advice is similar to Ruff Love, just more to the point and not packaged as 'nicely'.

I don't see how it is unrealistic or difficult to keep dogs separated either? Perhaps a waste of time for some pet owners but a huge advantage for many sport/working dogs. Fun comes from the owner/handler, not other dogs in the household...

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Guest lavendergirl   
Guest lavendergirl

Extreme is putting it mildly. His treatment for separation anxiety is basically to lock the dog in a wire crate with a bark collar on to stop it being "stupid". :eek:

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Red Fox   

Extreme is putting it mildly. His treatment for separation anxiety is basically to lock the dog in a wire crate with a bark collar on to stop it being "stupid". :eek:

Yeah, yeah and once he advised that you should bash a dog over the head with a shovel for fence fighting...

Use common sense and take what you need. There is plenty of very useful advice available on that site and there is certainly nothing nasty in the links I posted above :shrug:

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Guest lavendergirl   
Guest lavendergirl

And getting off the original topic now but...

Leerburg on separation anxiety: http://leerburg.com/search/searchresults.php?terms=separation%20anxiety

Sorry, can't see a problem with any of that advice?

I was looking at his responses to queries about separation anxiety - he recommends crating and bark collars several times - apparently as a first line of treatment. Interesting site though.

http://leerburg.com/separation.htm#6

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deghj   

Ok I've read through that advice and I'd be seriously confused at the end of that.

I have a three year old 35kg American Staffy who's natural play is jumping on other dogs and cats. He is highly dominant and only introduce dogs to him in our property that I know I can handle the dog. So saying in his three years I have also raised three kittens from eight to twelve weeks of age, and taught him not to play too rough with my families dog who is very much in pain with arthritis.

I would try a number of things.

1) Remember that although big he's still just an enthusiastic kid.

2) Make sure he recognises you as the member of your pack that's in charge. We did 5 or 10 minutes of training before play periods to reinforce this (sit/stay/etc)

3) Before letting them play put them on the opposite sides of a fence of screen doors. Dogs are always going to get massively excited and letting them sniffi or see each other before is a great help. Depending on how fast your dogs settle down you could do it even for an hour or so.

4) Try putting your big dog/s collar/harness and lead on and tying him up (I use my dining table leg) to achieve the same thing if you can't seperate the dogs by a fence or door. Make sure you supervise them so he doesn't get himself tangled and I limit this to 15 minutes

5) Try using the word "gentle" in a deep authoritative voice every time you need to check play. Then reward him with a treat and a solid 'good boy' when he does it. He'll soon learn that 'gentle'means stop for a moment and this will let your other dog up and should limit play without you having to be physically present. (I use it from the couch when mine starts to get too excited with the kitten for example'

6) Teach him 'leave it'. This is done by holding treats in both hands in front of your dog. Open one hand with a treat and when your dog goes to sniff it close your hand and say 'leave it'. The second the dog does not sniff your hand open the opposite and and reward the dog 'yes'. Be patient, this might take 20 or so repetitions until they get it the first time. Keep repeating this and increasing the time until reward that the dog has to leave it. Eventually he will hold indefinately. You can then extend this to anything, shoes, dogs, etc. Leave it means back off and wait for a treat

You can also stop 'wrestling' type play every 5 minutes or so and distract them by throwing balls etc.

The more they play together the better it will get. Also, whilst you don't want to hurt the younger dog, recognise when they're just making normal noise so you can distinguish when your smaller dog is just normally vocalising in play and when he seriously has had enough

To give you hope through this long process my dog sleeps and plays quite nicely with my current kitten how is 13 weeks

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Charjas   

I am having similar problems. Have had Jasper now since December. He is now nearly 8 mths. Charlie is 4 in August. Both toy poodles. Jasper very small but very rough. They take turns in chasing games buit Jasoer makes lots of growling noises and bites. Charlie puts up with this quite a bit until he may chase and bite and jasper rolls on his back. They run round and round the house up and down stairs until they flop down and go to sleep but I think jasper gets carried away. He sometime bites Charlie's long ears and Charlie yelps. If I try to stop them or clap my hands jasper knows he's in trouble but I can't catch him he runs under a table. If I get him I put him outside till he settles Tried smacking him but I think that makes him run away more.

1330392820[/url]' post='5740426']

Ok I've read through that advice and I'd be seriously confused at the end of that.

I have a three year old 35kg American Staffy who's natural play is jumping on other dogs and cats. He is highly dominant and only introduce dogs to him in our property that I know I can handle the dog. So saying in his three years I have also raised three kittens from eight to twelve weeks of age, and taught him not to play too rough with my families dog who is very much in pain with arthritis.

I would try a number of things.

1) Remember that although big he's still just an enthusiastic kid.

2) Make sure he recognises you as the member of your pack that's in charge. We did 5 or 10 minutes of training before play periods to reinforce this (sit/stay/etc)

3) Before letting them play put them on the opposite sides of a fence of screen doors. Dogs are always going to get massively excited and letting them sniffi or see each other before is a great help. Depending on how fast your dogs settle down you could do it even for an hour or so.

4) Try putting your big dog/s collar/harness and lead on and tying him up (I use my dining table leg) to achieve the same thing if you can't seperate the dogs by a fence or door. Make sure you supervise them so he doesn't get himself tangled and I limit this to 15 minutes

5) Try using the word "gentle" in a deep authoritative voice every time you need to check play. Then reward him with a treat and a solid 'good boy' when he does it. He'll soon learn that 'gentle'means stop for a moment and this will let your other dog up and should limit play without you having to be physically present. (I use it from the couch when mine starts to get too excited with the kitten for example'

6) Teach him 'leave it'. This is done by holding treats in both hands in front of your dog. Open one hand with a treat and when your dog goes to sniff it close your hand and say 'leave it'. The second the dog does not sniff your hand open the opposite and and reward the dog 'yes'. Be patient, this might take 20 or so repetitions until they get it the first time. Keep repeating this and increasing the time until reward that the dog has to leave it. Eventually he will hold indefinately. You can then extend this to anything, shoes, dogs, etc. Leave it means back off and wait for a treat

You can also stop 'wrestling' type play every 5 minutes or so and distract them by throwing balls etc.

The more they play together the better it will get. Also, whilst you don't want to hurt the younger dog, recognise when they're just making normal noise so you can distinguish when your smaller dog is just normally vocalising in play and when he seriously has had enough

To give you hope through this long process my dog sleeps and plays quite nicely with my current kitten how is 13 weeks

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deghj   

They're very different dogs to staffies but I still think it would be worth trying option 5 and 6 and breaking up their play every 5 minutes or so :)

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