Managing Your Puppy’s Play with Other Puppies
- “Follow the Leader” where the leader is chased by the rest of the puppies (the pack). Eventually the leader stops and a new leader takes over. That puppy now takes off with a flash while the rest of the group chases him.
- Many times two puppies will play “Tag, You’re It!” where one chases the other until the follower jumps on the leader and sometimes gives a little nip. The act of “tagging” exchanges roles where the leader becomes the follower and the follower becomes the leader.
- “King of the Hill” is another game that puppies play where one puppy gets to the top of something (like a chair) and defends it by posturing, nipping, and barking. The other puppies might challenge by getting close, but they will always back off. Eventually the puppy on top will jump off and a new puppy will become the leader or “king”.
- Have puppies of the same size play with each other. When a big puppy rushes up to a small puppy, it might scare and intimidate the smaller. This could create a fearful little dog that might later become dog aggressive.
- We suggest playing outside in an enclosed, grassy area. This allows them the most freedom to run and not “get into trouble”.
- If one puppy is becoming fearful (tail between legs), remove him from the main play area. Let him watch from a safe distance and allow him to decide if and when he might want to join the group.
- Watch the puppies very closely. If any puppy is constantly jumping on another and the other is whining, growling, or nipping with no release, the play has escalated too far. It is now time to separate the two for five minutes. If they are calm after that, resume play.
- Always have water available. This allows for proper hydration and provides for a “quick break” in the games.