Mail excites me! This week I wanted to share an email we received asking advice about dogs playing together.
Hi Cathy –
I have a three year old female Goldendoodle named Macey. I want to get another one, and wondered how you trained your two Boys to play so well together. They seem to share everything. What training tips can you give me? Stephanie Sinclair
Hi Stephanie –
I wish I could take credit for the relationship Harley and Jaxson have, but honestly I can’t. They seemed to have found their own way, all on their own…
They had a rocky start in the beginning – Harley was 6 years old, (recently without Leo) when I bring home a super fired up 9 week old Jaxson #onepissedoffdoodle…
Having an infant pup enamored with him seemed to agitate Harley. When I talked to Doodle Doc about it, she assured me Harley’s behavior was normal, and I should –
STAY OUT OF IT –
When it came to them finding their way – that was the best advice I ever received. Allow Harley to teach Jaxson about life in a multi-dog household.
It wasn’t easy – Harley was relentless in the beginning – growling, snarling and snapping at Jaxson. I was always close, observing and ready to step in “if” it got out of hand. But #thanktheDoodle it never escalated into anything serious. Turns out he was only teaching Jaxson the hierarchy of multi-dog household life.
Gradually, as Jaxson understood, Harley became less of a teacher and more of a sibling…
Before I knew it they were running around…
The wrestling started shortly thereafter…
And it still goes on today…
ABOUT DOG PLAY –
When you live in a multi-dog household, you must learn how to read the language of dogs interacting with one another.
Dog-to-dog play is a series of active and repetitive behaviors that have different meanings when performed in other contexts, but helps dog develop important life skills and experiences that promote good physical and mental health. Source: Victoria Stilwell
As Jaxson grew older and taller, I noticed they started playing more and even sharing toys…
Most dogs play safely with each other by relying on a series of signals to communicate peaceful intentions. Signals like play bows.
Sniffing, sneezing, yawning, itching and licking occur to communicate that any future action is still just play.
KNOW THE RULES –
When both dogs understand how play works, they learn how to maintain a low level of arousal and accept both winning and losing the game. Understanding how dogs play ensures that play remains a fun and healthy activity for everyone.
Keep in mind, some dogs are “more” willing to share with one another. #knowyourbreeds Golden Retrievers and Poodles are two of many breeds that live well with others.
MY BEST ADVICE? –
- Introduce your new dog to Macey before bringing her home.
- Know what to expect when they meet each other for the first time.
- Prevent dominance shifts that can throw “you” beneath the dogs in the pack.
- Work towards letting them spend time alone together.
- Know the the signs of aggression.
- Give balanced attention, but reinforce the hierarchy.
- Have fun with your multiple Doodle household 🙂
Stephanie – You know your Macey better than anyone, watch her with the puppy. Play together with the both of them – tug play, ball too, etc. Understand the signals, and look to your vet for advice. Before long, your Dood’s will be hanging out all the time, even when they sleep…
As with any behavior, prevention is always better than a cure. If you are concerned about the behaviors your dog is demonstrating it is always best to seek professional assistance.
Nothing will work unless you do❤️ Maya Angelou