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Your thoughts on rough play/wrestling with your dog.

Lee D

Good 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?
i get down on all fours, lower my head, and we kinda butt heads, pushing each other around, i sweep the legs and lay all over em while they try to wiggle loose, they throw some flying sideblocks, rear up and punch me (LOL), i smack em with Mindys fancy decorative pillows, but not really any teeth involved. it always ends up with CRAZY zoomie "flybys" with me spinning and trying to tackle em. we can only get away with this kinda stuff when Mindy is gone cuz we tear the living shit out of the living room. id hate to think if someone ever caught all this on video, id look like a silly, snorting, barking idiot running around on all fours like some sort of wildman :lol:


Good Dog
I think it depends on the dog.

I used to rough house with Sunny all the time and still do at times. Sunny has never tried to rough house like we do, he's always gentle with strangers and kids. I do allow Sunny to put teeth on me but he's always gentle and when I say stop, he knows to stop.


Good Dog
We fostered a shy greyhound/lab (Milo) a few years ago, and I was the only one he "wrestled" with. I would get down on all fours and slap the floor in a play bow and he would answer and come running over. He'd push me, paw me and mouth my arm, and I would push him and ruffle him. It really helped him come out of his shell, but since he was still rather young he would nip hard some times. When he did I would "YIP!" and stand up. Playtime was done. After a few times of me doing this, he began to understand "bite inhibition" and became really gentle.

I think it would really depend on the dog. For Milo, it really helped him learn to trust people and he learned to be gentle. But I could see how another dog could become over-stimulated and get carried away and hurt someone.


Good Dog
I wrestle with mine all the time, you don't realize the strength and agility of the breed till you rumble with them. I got the canine version of Chuck Liddell (loves the ground work, all you see is asshole and elbows) lol...Any breed will mouth you when you start to rough house with them,as long is they know there limit,plus it keeps us in shape.
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Good Dog
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.

^^^ This LOL. I rough play with my dogs ALL the time. I get scratched, mouthed (Not bitten or nipped) and every once in a while knocked over. But I love it. I feel a connection with my dogs when I play with them like this. I have never had an issue with disrespect with either of them. AND if they by some chance start to get TOO rough or do actually break skin on accident, I drop out of my "play stance", turn my back and walk away. My dogs listen to me, do not pull on the leashes (the ones I don't want to), never been bitten by any of my dogs nor have they started to ply rough with me with out a cue.


Mason is allowed to put teeth on me ... but not too hard. He had to learn what is acceptable and be reminded from time to time. It's all play and it's all good.

No, Mason isn't allowed to tussle with other people, so the way he and I play isn't an issue. The focus with the public, is to be on best behavior.


Good Dog
We play wrestle with Jersey a lot because she tends to be alone with us more, with 2 or 3 dogs running around it tends to get too amped up fast because the others want to jump in. But they all like to get pushed around and "teased" a little, we grab at their feet or jowls or whatever. They all know if it gets too rough games over and they've never tried to initiate that kind of play with strangers or friends over.


Good Dog
i play mouth games with my dogs.They are always SOOOO gentle when they mouth too, it's like they are just holding my hand. My dogs have never play bit with any pressure once so ever. Over means over and they do not try to play with other people and when i tell someone they can play with them like that(only someone that i really trust) the dogs usually are confused and don't really interact with them in that kind of game.That said my mouth games, or roughhouseing games aren't ALL that rough, my uncle is crazy rough with his dogs.. Scruffy plays a steal your sock game, where with her very front teeth, and take it off your foot and than run around the house with it shaking it. lol (she only does this if i start the game and she will drop my sock if i tell her too) That's a game that if i tell someone she does and tell someone to start with her, she will play with another person...Along with the running around game, and the blanket game (i pretend the blanket is attacking me and she comes to save me from the blanket, or i make the blanket attack her)


Big Dog
I would LOVE to play rough with Leo. I've tried a few times. Hell, I've tried petting him "too much" too, meaning the boy never did learn bite inhibition as a pup.

I've tried working on teaching him to calm down on command but as of yet - and we're still working! - he has no off switch. Once he starts mouthing, he uses the vice grip pressure exactly like K9 described with Hades and it's on. And rough. And any physical correction/reaction to the chomping on my fingers/hands/wrists just amps him up more.

The most effective thing I've done to-date is to casually pinch/stab his soft little lips/jowls with my finger nails. I don't make a big fuss when I'm doing it. I avoid eye contact, etc. Just try to make it like he's biting a thorny rose bush. It must be uncomfortable cause he removes his mouth.

But even so, we're a LONG way from wrestling/playing the way I'd like to!!


Good Dog
Yup we wrestle too, only me and the bf though. Wendy and dee dee can mouth and use their teeth but izzy isn't allowed as she gets carried away. Izzy just holds a toy in her mouth instead so we can still wrestle and she just bites the toy.

We just had a big play sesh after some training tn, had izzy in a head lock and it sounded like she was killing me lol she is so vocal.

They all know when play time is over and walk away after.

Glad I'm not the only one who gets on all fours to play with the dogs.


Good Dog
I've always enjoyed rough playing with Zoey and it's nice to finally have a dog that thoroughly enjoys rough play/wrestling (as my other dog was a dramatic baby most of the time) whenever I do engage her in the manner. It's a brutal match I'll tell you! grab, shake, slap, punch, body slam, push and shove ;) (and no, not abusively at all, but well, rough playing wise!) and yeah, I don't see how a dog could not use it's teeth at some point when rough playing. At least, that is not possible here and I don't stop just because she'll nip, or a tooth will come in contact with my skin/body, but I can handle it and tolerate it. She has never engaged me in a manner that, has alarmed me to think that she's suddenly wanting to severely injure me. I simply say "ok enough" and that's it (after many scratches and bruises have been marked on me however :lol:). She never has demanded to continue on, once I state that and the match of death comes to an end.


Joey - sounds like me and J!
The only time he's hurt me is when he hits with with his teeth - he's always got his big mouth open, flinging his head around. I also think it's good, because he doesn't have another dog he can really wrestle with. Sparkles and him 'wrestle', but she's about 12lbs, and while it's a wrestling match for her - for him it's laying down and trying hard not to hit her too much his his head. I.E:

I forgot, my dad does this thing with Jaeger -keep in mind, my dad is very silly- where he does the "toofie" song (yeah, I'm blushing already :lol: ), pretty much he says "Wanna play toofies??" and J lightly places his top K9s over my dads' index and middle fingers and they play tug like that. It is a little rough, but J never puts pressure on his hands and he loves it. And I know how strong his bite can be - he has learned a lot of self-control I think by playing with his mouth.
And they also have a whole routine/story time about getting treats. I don't even know how it started, but both dogs are crazy about it. It starts with "I was walking down the street.." and J has to jump up and get at face-level with him for the story and then gets treats. It's pretty damn hilarious.

Oh, family..


I wrestle with Sage all the time. I swat her around and jump on her and roll her over. She seems to enjoy it, although she never quite grasps the concept that she's supposed to wrestle me back. I don't let her start mouthing though. When she starts to nip at me I tell her no and the game's over. She's getting alot better about not using her mouth. Although now she just uses her paws and getting caught across the face with her toenail fricking hurts!

I think it really just depends on the dog and the situation, and if you can handle it. Sometimes I wrestle with Goat, my black lab, but she gets really aggressive and bitey after a while, and refuses to stop when I'm done. So I don't play much with her. And my old dog Misty had a huge guard dog mentality, and she thought that playfully wrestling equals maliciously attacking, so we couldn't roughhouse around her much.


Good Dog
Exactly poisoned, I am the only "play mate" that Zoey has, so, I find it more appealing to offer her the opportunity to play fight with me :) Even while knowing I could never offer her a real challenge. I can just feel the inner tenacity wanting to come out of her at full blast. I just love putting myself into a minor battle with her and signing myself over as a punching bag for a few minutes :grin:

We have a 4 pound chihuahua here that Zoey grew up with. They did play fight while Zoey was still a growing pup, but it was soon forbidden a little after she reached maturity. I noticed also, that the older Zoey became the more she wouldn't show any interest to engage into a play with him, at all. Even if he was always the instigator. She knows, he is so tiny and wouldn't offer a challenge at all :lol:


Good Dog
We wrestle around here a lot. Riley, the rott, has such a soft mouth. She will mouth us but very gently. Barrett gets a little more stimulated and will forget how hard he's mouthing us. When that happens, all play is stopped. I also get down on all 4's and head butt the dogs like a goat and get in their business to instigate play. I love it


Big Dog
Ive rough housed with past dogs, but i dont really with my current two. We usually just go outside and play with teh flirt pole.
Cherri, my 8 month old, gets wound up way too quick and gets SUPER ROUGH! With my daughter around, I just can risk rough play with her.
I think its whatever people feel comfortable with and how the dogs react to that kind of play


Good Dog
Zoe is the dog that I play wrestle with all the time, she is very physical and even if she is holding back, I manage to get hurt sometimes. She's given me a black eye, bruises and tons of scratches but when you jump into the fire, you're going to get burned.

If she gets a little too wound up and starts using too much teeth I stop the fun before it stops me!


Big Dog
I love to rough house with Sadie. We have WPWF (world puppy wrestling federation) matches every day. I smack her and roll her over and get her in "wrestling" holds all the while she is growling and roaring at me and generally having a blast. If I hold my hand in the air and shout - puppy wrestling - she grabs her bone and comes running. But I have never allowed any dogs to have their teeth on me, it's too easy to get all bruised up even when they are gentle. But with Sadie, she always has her red Kong bone in her mouth when we're playing, so she bites it and not anything else. But she knows her command - enough - and will reluctantly stop.

She likes to get her bone and stick her head between us on the couch (she's not allowed on the furniture) and dh will smack her on one side of her head and then I smack her on the other (not very hard) and that makes her growl at us like she is going to tear us to pieces, till we stop and she stands there wagging her tail and nudging at our hands.

I think whether you let them put teeth on you is up to you and the dog, some dogs are gentle, some get carried away. As long as they have a command to stop and listen to it, I think rough housing is great fun. And if you only have one dog like we do, it's the only time Sadie gets to rough house and get a lot of play contact.


I tried to wrestle with Garp last night. It either freaks him out and he walks away or it turns into a nuzzle war and my face is soaked.

I should take a video of it. It was pretty adorable. Weird, but cute and kinda scrappy.