Dog Training Tips: Good Versus Bad Puppy Play

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Puppy training can be challenging and time-consuming, but consistent positive training and early socialization are key.

Getting a new puppy may seem like a daunting task. First, you have to do lots of research to find the right dog breed for your lifestyle. Then, when you bring home a new puppy,  puppy training will require a lot of patience and dedication.  It is essential to begin training and socializing right away. We talked to top experts and dog trainers in our Puppies Rock TV episode to hear pro tips for training a new puppy. Here are just a few below:

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Trainer Margaret Pender from DogGone Right! emphasizes the importance of learning while having fun in her Puppy Learn And Play Classes. Although it is not a formal obedience class, there are still aspects of obedience being taught to the puppy while it plays. Pender focuses on socialization, exposing the puppies to different breeds of dogs, different ages and a variety of situations and objects, all in a safe controlled environment. Although it is not a formal obedience class, there are still aspects of obedience being taught to them while they play.

Pender stresses that one thing you should look for while your puppy is interacting with other dogs is “good play vs. bad play” or rather not so much bad play, but knowing when you should interrupt. You want your puppy to be engaged with good play, but if your dog isn’t having fun any more, then it can quickly become traumatized by the situation.

Puppies may chase each other and roll around together. It can seem quite rough at times. If they then return for more after they are separated or finish wrestling, it’s probably good play. Their body language should be relaxed.

Puppies may play “bitey face” and that is fine as long as they have soft mouths and are not really biting each other hard.  (please note : Margaret inserts her hand in between the puppies to see how hard they are biting in the video. Remember that she is an expert with many years of experience. We do not recommend that you stick your hand between puppies or dogs playing or fighting as you may get bitten.)

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Read Margaret’s 7 Golden Rules of Puppy Training 

When you’re at a play group, meet up, the beach or the dog park, how your dog is interacting with others should be your primary focus. Innocent play can become dangerous quickly and knowing when to step in and intervene can prevent negative or dangerous experiences.

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Andre Yeu of When Hounds Fly, suggests that new pet parents should attend puppy classes to help both them and their new puppy ease into training and socializing in a controlled space. Puppy socialization classes are there to assist you, and they are supervised and taught by professionals. “All the owners are on the same page, its under careful supervision of a dog training professional. And that ensures that every single interaction is carefully scrutinized and carefully orchestrated so the dog increases in confidence over time.” 

Good play may include play bows (rear up and tail wagging is usually a sign of good intentions). They may be bouncing around like bunny rabbits and wrestling. Both puppies should look comfortable and happy.

It should include reciprocal play (the puppies take turns chasing or being on top as they mouth and even bite each other).

More training tip from Andrew HERE

 

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