Dogs like roughhousing as a part of their lives. Dogs learn a lot about the world around them and about other animals and humans while they are playing and having fun.
Most instances are entirely safe and healthy, but overdoing it might be deadly. It’s very common for dogs to play-bite or lunge or swipe at you or other dogs when they’re having fun, but it’s usually done in a gentle way.
If the dog starts to attack or play in a manner that hurts humans or other animals, the fun may quickly turn into a nightmare. To prevent your dog plays too rough, you may find this guideline useful for you and your dog.
What To Do When A Dog Plays Too Rough
Several questions will run into your mind when it comes to a dog’s behavior during playtime and fighting.
- Like asking yourself if your dog is playing or fighting?
- What should you do if your dog is being too rough?
- Are my dogs playing too rough already?
- How to avoid fighting between two dogs?
- What are the red flags for you to know whether your dog will start a fight?
- Can you stop two dogs fighting without you being harmed?
Watching your furry pets play is very fulfilling because playing is one of the favorite things a dog does.
It is normal for them to be very playful because it is one way to consume their energy and of course it makes them happy.
It is in playing that dogs socialize with humans and other dogs even with other animals.
A dog may play-bite, dive, swipe, and even bark at you or other dogs during playtime, but normally it is gentle and in a friendly way.
However, these playful activities could be undesirable if it is already harmful to somebody.
A Dog Plays Too Rough, What to do?
When dogs play fight too rough and are starting to harm you or other animals, start interrupting them. How? Stop playing and ask your dog to sit, lie down or behave and give him or her something to chew so he or she will calm down.
If your dog is playing with another dog, you can put a leash on your dog and bring him or her away from the other animals and ask your dog to do obedience exercises (sit, lie down or behave) so he or she will start calming down.
Obedience exercises can relieve the tension of your dog, so if you are a pet owner make it a point that you train your dog on how to sit, lie down or behave.
1. Be patient
To get the most out of your training, it’s important that you maintain a positive attitude and practice patience and consistency.
Toys like tennis balls, as well as a head halter, may be useful teaching aids. Your dog’s level of happiness and energy should be carefully monitored to avoid over-excitement.
Stop exercising and take a break if you feel yourself becoming irritated or annoyed. It is counterproductive to utilize any negative emotions or actions towards your dog during this form of training.
Make sure to maintain a good outlook and your dog will soon be capable of playing more peacefully.
2. Don’t tolerate bad behavior
Dogs may be influenced to act roughly by their owners, particularly if the owners play with the dog with their hands, arms, or legs. If you want to have fun playing with your dog, it’s best to utilize toys rather than your body.
Some of your dog’s bad habits may have been instilled in him by bigger, rougher-playing dogs in the neighborhood.
If you suspect that another person or dog is having an effect on this conduct, put an end to the contact between your dog and that other person or dog. Playing rough with another puppy will only make your puppy more aggressive.
Never play “tug-of-war” or other dominance games with a puppy unless you are prepared to win every time. This will prevent the puppy from becoming a rough or aggressive dog.
In addition, you should constantly make it obvious that all of your puppy’s toys belong to you and that you determine when and how many of them he may play with at a time.
Having a lot of toys might make a dog feel more powerful if it is able to keep them in a secure area.
3. Stop your dog before it starts
One of the greatest ways to prevent a fight from becoming a fight is to intervene before it has ever begun.
In the midst of play, dogs tend to be joyful and may lean forward, growl, or even bark. Keep an eye out for symptoms of hostility in your dog, and you can prevent it from getting out of hand.
If the dogs begin to snarl, bare their fangs, or howl when they are bitten, the situation may quickly get out of hand.
When two dogs of different sizes are playing together, it is important to keep an eye on the smaller dog, who may be wounded even if they are only having fun.
Having fun with your dog is an important aspect of socialization, and it’s something that should be promoted. If you and your dog engage in rough play, it might lead to bites or other injuries that could harm you and your dog.
The dog should be taken out of the room for a time-out if things are getting out of hand. If your dog’s behavior suddenly changes, or if there is a more significant behavioral issue, please contact your veterinarian.
4. Redirect your dog
Redirecting her focus to something she can play with and chew on, such as a toy or a piece of chewing gum, is an effective way to get her attention away from the situation.
If you’ve missed your preventive window or she’s too agitated for you to ignore her fully, here is the solution for you.
5. New activity for your dog
Give your dog a new activity to engage in instead of biting and mouthing. You may put your dog on your dog’s mat when she gets too enthusiastic and wants to play with you.
Your dog should receive his or her favorite snacks as a reward for this kind of conduct. In this way, your dog is not only able to restrain herself while she is laying down, but she is also learning how to be cool and collected when she is overjoyed.
The added benefit is that she now immediately resorts to this habit whenever she gets too aroused, which helps her to relax.
6. Be consistent
Consistency is key. Make sure that your actions always lead to a foreseeable conclusion. Biting must be stopped quickly if it occurs. This will prevent your dog from playing too rough at the dog park or wherever your dog is.
How to identify if Dogs are Playing or Fighting?
Playing is a normal activity for dogs and during the puppy stage, it is a must that you socialize your dogs.
Why? Because if you do not start to socialize your dogs during the puppy stage, then you will have a hard time socializing your dog when they are already adults. And the worst of it is that they will have temper issues.
A common concern of new pet owners is when to tell if a dog is playing or fighting. When two dogs are playing you will notice the following behaviors:
- A wide, open mouthed-grin.
- Big wide open mouth with a tongue hanging out
- Ears forward and in the relaxed state
- Trying to initiate play thru play bow and slapping his or her front legs down on the ground repeatedly
- Exaggerated, bouncy movement with a smile on their face.
- The tail is wagging
- Play biting – normal social interaction for dogs
- Continuous growling or snarling. Play growling can be scary, but don’t worry because this is normal.
- Role reversal – they take turns on who is the “it”.
- They keep coming back for more because obviously because they are enjoying it!
When two dogs are already fighting these are the following behaviors that you will observe:
- Their bodies are getting stiff. (For non-furry dogs, you will notice that their hair at the upper back are raised)
- Closed teeth, low warning growl
- Barking in front of the face of another dog
- Quick and efficient movements. This time no-take turns!
- Neck biting – not an appropriate type of bite specifically if a dog won’t let go
- Ears are pinned flat, lips are curled back and snarling.
- The tail is not wagging
- No bouncy movement and you will observe that the dogs are not having fun
- If they are already in combat, the “loser” will stay away and leave the area. Make sure to stop them before someone acquires injury.
Dogs are known to engage in a variety of fighting behaviors while they’re just having fun with their owners. Playing with other dogs is just as important as playing with your own dog.
When it comes to playing, there are two primary distinctions between the two:
1. Meta-signals are a part of playing.
That which has just occurred and what is to come is all part of the game, and dogs employ meta-signals to convey this message to their playmate.
The play bow (with the buttocks in the air and the elbows on the floor) is one among the most common, as are the bouncing motions and the wide, relaxed mouth that go along with it.
2. Biting, mouthing, leaping, and vocalizing — all actions that suggest fighting — are discouraged.
Even though dogs have the ability to utilize their jaws to their maximum potential, they would only use a small amount of force.
In certain cases, they provide their opponent an advantage while playing. Allowing another dog to capture him or her in a game of chase or lying on her back are two examples of this.
This form of dog play is acceptable and typical, since dogs may be rough with one other. Having fun is an important aspect of a dog’s socialization and learning how to connect with others in an acceptable manner.
Through play, puppies learn to interact with others, improve their motor abilities, and strengthen their brains. Playing is a great way to get some fitness while having fun.
Playtime between dog and owner is essential as well. Your dog will develop a stronger relationship with you and learn acceptable play behaviors with other humans by engaging in this kind of interaction with you.
It’s also a good idea to play games that have a set of rules in order to teach your dog valuable life skills.
Watch this video to find out how dogs should play if it gets too rough.
Can you stop dogs fighting without being hurt?
Of course, being the pet owner would make you want to save your dog from any fights. The big question is how to stop them without you being hurt?
Loud noise can distract fighting dogs such as beeping the horn of your car, turning on a vacuum, sound of a blower, etc. Also, you can try spraying them with water or finding a piece of plywood to separate them.
If your dog is on a leash, you can move him away from his dog enemy. Never intervene by carrying your dog or holding your pet in the collar while he or she is fighting because you are prone to be bitten.
Still, the best way to avoid the fight is for you to know if there will be a sign of arising conflict and act quickly!
Separate the two dogs so they will not be able to start a fight and divert your dog’s attention to make him or her calm.
It is not unusual if dogs suddenly change their mood during playtimes, for they also have emotions or feelings.
Of course, when they get hurt by another dog, their defense mechanism is to be angry and quarrel or start a fight with other dogs and even with other animals.
A pet owner must know what the signs are whenever his or her furry pet will start to engage in a fight so he or she can act immediately.
A pet owner must also know what to do when his or her dog is in this kind of situation so he or she can protect itself and his or her furry pet.
By now maybe you are thinking that it’s too difficult to understand a dog’s behavior.
But if you will just know these by heart, then slowly you will be able to familiarize yourself with these kinds of stuff about how to differentiate a playtime versus fighting between dogs.
Dogs do have this instinct that they should protect their human and with this, humans must also put in their minds that whenever they start having a pet they should protect them like how they protect their family.
What to do if my puppy plays too aggressively with other dogs?
Trying to find out who to trust when you’re concerned about how harsh your dog is playing with another dog may be difficult. All kinds of professionals will give you contradicting advice. It’s a lot like being a parent in a way.
What works for you may not work for everyone else. When your dog is being too harsh, go with your instincts and attempt the approach you believe will be the most successful.
Keep in mind that they are just pups for a brief period of time until they are fully grown. Their energy levels will gradually decline as their bodies mature and get larger in size.
Owners must intervene if one dog is playing too rough and not paying attention to the other’s distress.
Using a firm “no” in a hushed tone teaches your pets that you’re serious. Put a stop to the playtime by separating the dogs. Don’t scold or berate. Set an example by ignoring them for a few minutes until they learn their actions will not be tolerated.
As humans, we have a responsibility to ensure that our dogs’ needs are met in an acceptable manner. It’s crucial to take your dog for a walk every day and provide him with a variety of chew toys to keep him busy.
Dogs playing with each other is also a wonderful thing. It’s crucial to let children spend some time outside every day. You can typically allow two adult dogs that are similar in size speak directly about how rough they want to play together.
Those with a strong attachment will pay attention to what their dog has to say. As soon as one of them begins to cry out in agony, the other is usually forced to do the same.
You’ll witness them battle it out for the lead throughout the game. This is OK as long as they aren’t inside wreaking havoc on your home.
Of course, avoiding confrontation that leads to actual fighting is preferable. Make sure your pets each have their own food and bedding. Make sure they’re not too close to one another.
Dogs have a strong sense of self-preservation. It’s never a good idea to play a game with your dogs where you toss rewards for them to race for. Distribute the rewards equally so that neither dog feels deprived.
Feed the elder dog first and give them more attention and rewards to show respect for their natural order. You may use these tactics to remind your dogs that you are the pack leader, not any one of them, and that they have no reason to feel envious.
Difference Between Rough Play and Dog Aggression
Are you confused whether a dog’s behavior is just rough playing or it is already aggression? To some extent, this is especially true for young pups who have not yet mastered social signs and the skill of restraint in their biting and mouthing.
Conflict or anxiety are the two most common causes of aggression. However, when arousal levels rise, they might lead to violent behaviors, which is clearly not desirable.
As a result, if you see your dog displaying warning indications that her play is turning into hostility, you should take action immediately.
Rough Play in Dogs Red Flags
Here are a few things to watch out for:
• Dogs do these signals of stress to convey their feelings.
An aggressive response or bite might occur as a result of stress escalating fast. Owners frequently fail to notice the early warning indications of a dog’s aggression before a dog bites. When a dog feels threatened or attacked, the dog may growl, snap, or even bite the presumed attacker if her warnings are ignored.
• A dog that is playing or relaxing will wiggle her body.
If your dog’s body has stiffen, your dog’s hackles rise up (a characteristic known as piloerection), or your dog’s tail wags in slow motion then that means that your dog feels frightened or nervous.
• Strong stare is a direct threat.
If your dog stares at you or another animal with a strong gaze, then your dog is likely to follow through with a chase and maybe bite if your dog starts to move slowly and quietly.
• Growling may be a typical aspect of play for dogs, but it can also be a warning to back off if taken out of context or in the absence of meta-signals.
A dog’s growl is usually the final and most evident warning before a snap or bite occurs, and you should allow your dog to use this kind of communication. This will let you know if your dog is about to bite you or other dogs.
• Some dogs have a hard time dealing with the loss of things they consider to be treasured.
Food, bedding, or even toys may fall under this category. Playing tug or stealing a toy from your dog might result in a bite and worsen her anxiety over time if she is fiercely defending her toys. If you’d like, you may play activities that don’t place you in close proximity to the object your dog is protecting.
Dog Breeds That Are Likely to Play Rough
There are certain breeds that are more likely than others to do rough play.
Dogs have their own unique personalities. Even pups from the same litter might differ greatly in their dispositions and ways of playing. Although certain breed characteristics may incline your puppy to rough or gentle play, this is not always the case.
• High-energy dogs like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and other retrievers tend to be highly active and wiggly when they are young. When they’re having fun, they are known for rough playing dogs since they easily get carried away.
• Despite their mild nature, pitbull-type dogs are powerful and use their paws often when playing. Adults are easily knocked down by their excitement.
• Shih Tzus and Bichon Frises tend to be more docile and enjoy playing with their owners than engaging in rough and tumble play. As a result, these dog breeds don’t tend to become too harsh when they’re playing.
• Herding breeds are known for their high amounts of energy. Yet when they are properly trained and mentally stimulated, they tend to be less aggressive than other kinds.
• High-energy dogs like Terriers and Spaniels may be rather agitated. A high prey drive means that games of chase or retrieve might lead to agitation in the dog.
Puppy Rough Playing Dogs: FAQs
1. Is it ok to play rough with my puppy?
Almost usually, the response to these questions is “It depends!”
If you want your puppy to learn that biting and mouthing are acceptable, you should avoid roughhousing with them at all costs. When we play rough with our dog, our dog will learn to use her mouth when she wants to have fun.
If we avoid roughhousing and instead teach her more appropriate ways to engage with us, we’ll set them up for a positive experience with us.
2. Is it because my dog is enraged because she bit me?
Obviously, the answer to this question is “nope!” There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that dogs are motivated by anger.
Because play biting is a natural innate habit for all pups, it is likely to happen. Every puppy uses their mouths to discover the world around them.
At that point, it’s your responsibility to step in. We need to educate our dogs on other methods of dealing with stress, such as biting.
When our pups bite, we are encouraging that behavior by rewarding them with our attention. For many dogs, this entails giving in to play as well as engaging in unpleasant engagement.
As simple as glancing at them, saying no, or even using your hands to push or move them might increase their aggressiveness. Try to divert your dog’s interest to something else, such as a toy, as soon as you feel their teeth start to wiggle.
3. What Is the Best Way to Stop an Aggressive Puppy from Biting?
Identifying the source of your puppy’s aggressiveness is critical if she is biting outside of normal playing. Professional canine behavior experts are the greatest option for most new owners, especially first-time owners.
Not only can a dog behavior expert assist you figure out what’s going on, but they can also devise a strategy for changing her behavior.
In the meanwhile, avoid penalizing your dog, since this is likely to make things worse. You may see that your puppy from playing too rough with older dogs since they are too energetic.
4. How to stop your puppy from playing too rough with other dogs?
Biting is a big element of puppy play since puppies are still learning how to play. Because of this, it normally takes them time to acquire the proper etiquette.
It depends on the dog’s nature, how eager they are to play, and how persistent you are with training that determines when and how quickly they learn to bite restraint and bite inhibition.
You may be able to introduce more rough and tumble play as your puppy gets used to it. In fact, as your dog grows older and gains experience, you may notice a shift in the way she plays.
As dogs become older, they may become more or less talkative. Over time, some fearful pups gain greater self-assurance. Some pups that are self-assured improve their manners.
However, in all circumstances, kids will learn to refrain from speaking and exercise better self-control in their actions.
5. How to stop dogs playing too rough with children?
Puppies playing too rough is common since they are more energetic when young. They have sharp fangs and nails that might frighten small children.
It’s also possible that your dog may be frightened or encouraged to play brutally by the screams, cries, and runs of children.
As a result, it is important to keep an eye on both pups and youngsters. When your kid is close, you should attempt teaching the dog to earn treats instead of allowing them to play with one other.
Teaching your dog to relax on her mat or pen when your child approaches might be one way to do this. Educating your children on how to avoid being nipped or otherwise injured is also a good idea.
All living things, including humans, have the potential to get over excited and engrossed in the situation.
Dogs aren’t any different! Although it’s pleasant to watch or even participate in rough play, your dog may misunderstand your signals and think it’s appropriate to engage in rough play.
Training your dog to cease an unpleasant behavior as soon as it starts is crucial, particularly if you or your dog or members of your family are at risk.
It is common for puppies to get agitated and uncontrollable, and since they are still learning, they frequently do not grasp that using their fangs or claws while playing in their new homes and environs is not appropriate.
In order for a dog to be a happy, healthy, and safe part of a family, the owner must be able to teach the dog not to play rough.
You and your dog will both benefit from playing together. It may strengthen your relationship with your dog and teach them valuable skills. However, it’s important to create guidelines since physical play may quickly escalate to accidents.
Does your dog play too rough with you or their other friends as well? Share your experience by commenting down below!