My 15-week old Westie has finally started going on outdoor walks on the streets and to the park (the vet just gave us the "ok"). She has loved every walk, and has really enjoyed meeting other puppies and dogs. She has also been going to puppy obedience class for three weeks now, and she really enjoys meeting and playing with the other little ones. Molly is very friendly, but also very energetic. Often she starts out quiet and sort of shy when meeting another dog, but then she gets pretty comfortable, and excited, and she sometimes plays in a way that seems a bit rough to me. Maybe it's normal puppy play, but she likes to jump on the other dog. This means sometimes they jump on her too, which doesn't seem to scare her. Some people have told me this is ok, and that puppies need to play with other dogs, and learn bite inhibition, etc. I just want to know what kind of behaviour is NOT acceptable; how do I know when to intervene and pull her away? I don't want her to start developing bad habits, or become a bully. Any thoughts or advice?
Your puppy is perfectly normal, and acting her age. Don't worry about her playing rough, the other dog will let her know if she is. Of course, if she tries to play with a large dog, and annoys him, I would reign her in, fairly quickly. Little bombshell dogs often have so much energy, they don't know when enough is enough, but as long as she's playing with a dog of her own size and roughly the same age, I would'nt give it a second thought. If she annoys the crap out of an older dog, her size or even bigger, they will generally give a warning snap, which is teaching her how far she can go with that particular dog. I still would keep her away from a full grown large dog, just because their warning snap can be a dangerous situation for your puppy. Good luck with her, she sounds like a bundle of fun.
Is the class your going through haveing puppy sessions already? The point of the play sessions is to condition the dogs to play nicely. So if two are playing and one gets to out of hand and the other puppy yelps, the rougher of the two should settle down a bit. Most of this conditioning should be dealt with before 16 weeks. If there is playing and jumping on backs and everyone seems happy then its all normal. But if its to the point that a puppy is continuously yelping, this is bullying, and short time outs are requuired(for the bully). Puppies and dogs really should never just be let to go after eachother, we need to supervise the play so either doesn't get bullied or find out that behaving like a bully is fun. Susanne
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