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Your thoughts on rough play/wrestling with your dog.

Discussion in 'Dog Debates' started by Poisoned, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Poisoned

    Poisoned GRCH Dog

    I see a lot of you (and other dog owners in general) seem to have very different ideas on playing rough, and letting your dog play bite you back and slap you around pretty much. Some people seem to think it teaches the dog he can disrespect you - even if playtime is over as soon as you say so - and letting your dog bite you in play makes him more likely to think he can 'correct' you in serious situations. Others say that it doesn't matter how rough the play is, as long as the dog knows it's play and knows to stop when you say it's over. Some people say a dogs' teeth should never touch your skin, toys are toys, you are not.
    And then there are those who say it's totally natural, normal, and good for bonding to wrestle with your dog, like another dog would.

    Well, what is everyone's opinion on this? I'll give mine when I get back.
  2. Good_OL_Boy

    Good_OL_Boy Good Dog

    I wrestle with my boys, but don't allow teeth on me. I do this solely because they are around little kids every now and then and don't want them to be mouthing on them.
  3. DancesWithCurs

    DancesWithCurs Good Dog

    I used to wrestle with my dogs all the time. It was great fun, and they knew to stop when I said it was enough. It was also handy for fluidly continuing bite inhibition conditioning, which was very important when one of your dogs was a 126 lb German Shepherd /Rottweiler mix. I do not allow dogs to bite me in play, however
  4. Beki

    Beki Good Dog Premium Member

    Nope, I don't do it, and I don't allow anyone that has contact with my dogs to do it. Faith being what she is ,has shown that she does NOT have an off switch.
  5. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    We've had this out here before, my opinion and lifestyle hasn't changed.

    When Roxy was alive, and Hades currently, we play rough and wrestle, teeth on skin, pretty much every single day.

    I have never had one of my dogs try to instigate this type of play with strangers, or just out of the blue, my nephew Jacob would try to get Roxy to play with him the way she plays with the dh and she would just do a lot of really annoying barking instead, she might have grabbed him a few times in play but it was never quite the same as with the dh and he would have had to work real hard to get her to that point.

    The kids have tried to get Hades to play like that with him and he has never mouthed them, just a lot of pushing and rolling around the ground, maybe the odd confused air hump with the sad look on his face but never teeth on the kids, even with them doing the initiation dance pretty well, he just won't have it. If they push too hard, he'll leave a lot of the time too.

    I don't think everyone should do this with their dog because you could absolutely end up with a dog that runs around grabbing peoples hands, or biting arms to initiate play, but done right, with the right rules that are strictly followed in place, I do not feel allowing my dog to mouth me in play is dangerous one iota. In fact, I do believe it to be beneficial for a multitude of reasons, as DWC mentioned, upkeep on bite inhibition, if you've only ever cracked one egg in your life when you were a toddler, how good do you think you'd be now if you ever had to bake a cake? Probably smash that egg to bits. Impulse control is huge, being able to rev your dog up to the max and in one instant, one syllable out of a cue get them to stop (without beating the snot out of them) is real control. I do that every single day with my dog. With impulse control comes stimulus control, which is exactly the issue many people have, oh the dog will just run around mouthing people, not if you've gone through the steps of stimulus control properly. My dog doesn't run around doing random puppy push ups, or skipping when we're out on a walk, stimulus control.

    We use little facets of rough housing as rewards in training, so playing this way conditions those rewards and keeps them "charged".

    So a big resounding yes here for rough housing, even with teeth on skin, for everyone, nope, but we love it, will continue to do it and have had no negative consequences for doing so here!
  6. OBIWAN_dza

    OBIWAN_dza Little Dog

    I wrestle too, but dont allow biting, occasionally there is an accidental nip n i say ouch! and he will immediately stop until i initiate play again
  7. Poisoned

    Poisoned GRCH Dog

    I grew up with German Shepherds. My dad used to wrestle so rough with them that they'd puncture his skin sometimes - though I think that dog had a chipped tooth. I obviously grew up doing the same - even my little pom mix wrestles very roughly, and she has never actually play wrestled with anyone else. Even if they try to instigate, she'll lightly wrestle, but won't mouth them - not sure why. The old male GSD that I grew up with never got rough with us kids, as violently as he played with my father, he would NOT wrestle with us no matter how hard we tried to make him. He'd roll around like an idiot and bop us with his head, but wouldn't mouth us at all. And in his 15ish year life, he never got carried away playing or hurt any one of us.

    One foster APBT mix I had didn't have an off switch when it came to playing, so any kind of rough play that didn't exclusively include toys was OUT. She didn't mean to hurt anyone, but she didn't know when to slow down and got carried away.

    Jaeger, the current GSD, and I beat the living snot out of each other. He knows what 'all done!' means and he doesn't initiate rough play, I do. He can be so hyped up that he can barely contain himself and ends up zooming all over the house or yard, and as soon as I give the 'done' command, he chills out immediately. I enjoy it as much as he does and until I have a reason to think it will cause a problem I'll continue doing it. In fact, the puppies I've raised with lots of play like this have always had better bite inhibition than the adults I've fostered or adopted who never got to play like that - and when I'd get them to play like that, they didn't know WHAT they were doing and bit way too hard. Like the foster APBT I was talking about.

    Come to think of it, it's this way with the cats too. My current cat that showed up as a stray wrestles like she's half rere, she doesn't quite know how and she bites/claws too hard when she tries to play. All of the cats I've raised knew not to really use their claws and to mouth easy.

    But, this is just me and my opinion, and it certainly wouldn't go over or work with all people or dogs.
  8. Lee D

    Lee D Good Dog

    we get on the floor and wrestle (which usually turns into a serious case of the zoomies), but I DONT allow teeth, and my daughters know I am the ONLY family member allowed to play with em like this. and when I say enough, that means RIGHT NOW!
  9. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    Poisoned your description of your foster is a lot like Hades. As a puppy, he never mouthed, like ever! All the puppy people that have grey hair from puppy mouthing, and this little bugger didn't mouth once. Roxy? Mouthed like the pin toothed demon she was!

    Who ended up with the best bite inhibition? The pin toothed, mouthy devil that's who! Why? Because she got the most practice on level of pressure exerted, Hades didn't. To this day Hades can exert a little too much pressure, never broken skin on me, it's more of a vice grip pressure, he stops immediately, but the article I post every time bite inhibition is brought up states, by Dr. Ian Dunbar, that puppies learn bite inhibition by the time they start teething. If they haven't learned by then, they will never learn, at least not to the level that a puppy that has learned when they are "supposed to" has.

    So I agree with you 100%!
  10. Jazzy

    Jazzy GRCH Dog

    I agree with K9 who indicated that it's sort of situation dependent. It's not for every owner, or every dog and it could go south quickly; but then again if you know your dog and you have clear guidelines and you have a fairly well trained dog to begin with; then it can be great fun.

    I personally will play rough and wrestle occasionally and I have always allowed teeth on skin, to a point. The method I have used to teach bite inhibition is not a mouth off method but rather a teaching intensity and gentleness method so it requires allowing some mouthing (just fyi, I used Jean Donaldson's method, it's not like I made it up myself).

    I have a dog with a very soft mouth, not sure if it is because of the methods I employed, her temperment in general or a combination of both - but whatever the cause - what I'm doing works well for us. If it didn't then I would have to adjust the method to the dog, common sense.

    That said, when we play wrestle I allow play biting, unless it hurts in which case I tell the dog "That hurt you need to be more gentle" and because we have done so much training in this area - she gets it and complies. If it hurts, it's because she's really amped up and not paying attention, so the cue to reign it in and take it down a notch I think is a good impulse control exercise, sort of a "yes we can have fun and go wild, BUT let's not lose our heads completely."

    I will also note that Veronica never tries to initiate rough play, so consequently she only plays rough with me because no one else has any interest. If I had children they would not be allowed to initiate rough play because I think kids and dogs playing rough is a bad idea.

    Veronica has never tried to carry over play behavior into any other area; and she completely gets that when play is over we are done playing. Frequently if I play rough with her I will let her get reved to a certain point, then calm her down, then rev her up again...back and forth. I think that's good practice for a dog with her temperment as she is a very reactive dog; so any practice she can get learning to modulate her emotions or levels of excitement if you prefer; I think is a good learning experience for her.
  11. Boogieman

    Boogieman Good Dog Premium Member

    I play rough with my dogs all the time. They play rough with each other too. They know when the STOP comes to stop too. These dogs LOVE to play regardless of what people think or will tell you. Just as in any situation you have to smart enough to read body language and be able to tell when the level is getting too high. I also think it's impossible for this type of play without them touching you with teeth. That's what they do. They're dogs. Yes they do wrap their paw/legs around and grab for you, but they use their mouth as their handle, not hands. PLAY ON! HAVE FUN! IMO it helps build strong bonds with your dogs.
  12. TannerG

    TannerG Boss Member

    i wraaaaaaaaaaastle Callie all the time
  13. Jazzy

    Jazzy GRCH Dog

    Yeah, I'm not sure how that would work either. I can't picture my dog playing and keeping her mouth closed. Even if she's just barking, she's still whipping her head around with an open mouth; hard not to make any contact at all even if it is unintentional.

    And I will say, the accidental contact of open mouthed (rock hard) teeth applied to wrist bone..holy mother of God is that painful :lol:
  14. ignitethis

    ignitethis Good Dog

    Roxie and I wrestle all the time. I prefer that she not mouth me much, and she's got great bite inhibition. If I say, "OW!" she weasels into me and gives me "please forgive me" kisses, and then it's right back to playing hard- while she takes great care not to hurt me. Of course, she ends up punching me a lot, but I'm okay as long as she does not take off my glasses or give me a bloody nose. I will admit that I'm a lot rougher on her than she is me, but I admire her self-control. She gets SO riled up, but she's completely gentle with her mouth. And the second I say it's over, no matter how hyped up she is, she lays down and goes to sleep for a bit. I wouldn't have it any other way.
  15. Poisoned

    Poisoned GRCH Dog

    I've wondering how this works too...
    So, for those saying they do roughly play/wrestle with their dogs with no teeth involved, how does that work?
  16. Beret

    Beret Bullyflop

    Garp just kind of muzzle bops me. He's very handsy when we tussle around. I push him, he pushes me, then it all devolves into furious nuzzling. It's cute, and it's a little rough. I never discouraged him from using teeth in this context, but we didn't start playing rough until he understood that teeth do not go on people and his bite inhibition was fantastic.

    I would be fine with it if he used his teeth during this play, but he just won't.
  17. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    I wrestle with Bentley. I get down on the ground with him and roll around. I'll push him and tap his face and butt. He'll air snap or soft mouth my arm. I'll grab the excess skin around his head/neck and he'll writhe around like a crocodile. He likes to paw and jump around like a puppy. And I'll lean on him and knock him over. We really get into it and its a blast.

    But when I'm done, I'm done and he recognizes that. If he does accidentally get me with his mouth, I yelp and walk away. Sometimes play will resume when he's calmed down, sometimes it won't.

    This is Bentley though and I know him well. He knows me too and knows when it's time to stop.

    Carter, on the other hand, is not played with like this. He gets too into it and doesn't stop immediately when told to do so. He continues to mouth for a long time afterward so he doesn't get to wrestle with anyone.
  18. MMSmith

    MMSmith Good Dog

    I agree with Boogie, and big time with the bolded part. When I adopted Henry, he had no idea how to play with humans. He wouldn't play with toys, had no bite inhibition, and just had no idea how to play appropriately. I started wrestling with him, with very clear guidelines, and treated him like he was an 8 week old puppy, not a 1 year old brat. Within a week, I was introducing toys and he was actually tugging! He learned bite inhibition literally overnight. It was amazing. I worked commands into it and we still play rough all the time. I am in complete control of this kind of play, and it turned into a great reward for a dog who was initially hand shy and unsure of how to play with humans. I can't explain really how it worked, but it made us so much more in tune with each other.
  19. Good_OL_Boy

    Good_OL_Boy Good Dog

    I get after than if they start nipping and such, basically anything intentional. I'm not super strict when they play with me, but I make sure they're on their best behavior when playing with kids
  20. xchairity_casex

    xchairity_casex Good Dog

    I personally dont rough house very much- IMO i beilve it really depends on the dog-my dogs go overboard and the roughhouseing often times has to be stopped after only a few minutes because they get carried away and begin getting a lil too mouthy.

    i think if your dog knows how and when its gone to far-then by all means go ahead and play rough, but like i said with my dogs they dont know how to control themselves so i dont even go very far.

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