Playtime is perhaps the best time of the day. Most dogs enjoy playing as it is a healthy way to workout. A playing dog is a sign of a healthy dog. So, if your young and happy dog loves to play, should there be any rules in place for dogs and play? What are the must-have rules for doggie playtime? Let’s find out!
Dogs And Play – Here Are 4 Rules You Should Follow
We want to make sure that playtime is safe and positive for all dogs, hence we need to have some rules in place. Here are some safety rules you should have in place during doggie playtime.
1. Find Dogs With A Similar Personality
When dogs love to play with other dogs, you know that you will have to worry less. Dogs of similar sizes have similar strength levels. They can play rough with each other and it is usually safe if both dogs are at the same level – similar playstyle, strength and stamina. That being said, not all dogs like to play the same way. Some dogs like to play chase while others like to wrestle.
In wrestling, some dogs like to fall on the floor while other dogs like to be on top. It can sometimes be a sign of dominance but usually, it is just a play style.
As a dog parent, the primary focus should be on the dog. We should understand your dog’s nature and try to introduce them to other dogs that complement their nature.
Dogs of different sizes can play together only if the bigger dog is more gentle and willing to reduce themselves to the smaller dog’s level.
2. Dog Safe Environment
When dogs are in a playful mood they can get a little carried away. You may see crazy excited dogs pouncing on sofas knocking over lamps along the way.
Dogs are not always in control of their excitement level. Ideally, it is your job to know when to make them stop, or when to discourage play. You can have a small dog safe area indoors and perhaps a bigger one outdoors where you encourage play.
If your living room or bedroom is too crammed and is a disaster waiting to happen it would be best to discourage play in those rooms. Instead, you can have one room or one play area, either indoors or outdoors where you switch on your play voice to let them know they can play.
3. Dogs Playing With Children
When it comes to children, they must follow a plethora of rules to make sure both are safe. Firstly, you need to determine if your child is old enough to play with your dog. Children that are too young to understand rules, scream or often retrieve their hands, shouldn’t play with your dog.
Some dogs understand that they should be gentle around kids and older people. Allow your child and dog to play together only if your dog knows how to be gentle with children. This means that the dog cannot pounce or bite the child even if it’s a small nip.
On the other hand, kids must be obedient and listen to you. They shouldn’t make loud shrieky sounds as it may trigger a dog. Kids shouldn’t touch the dog’s eyes, mouth or pull on their whiskers as dogs are very sensitive around those parts of the face.
As for games like ‘tug’, we will suggest not to allow small kids to play it with dogs. Dogs may quickly overpower the game and become a little rough which may be too dangerous for the child.
Kids and dogs can play games like fetch if the dog knows how to ‘leave it’. Never allow the child to take the toy out of the dog’s mouth for the same reasons mentioned above.
4. Knowing When To Intervene
As the adult in the situation, you must know when to intervene or when to stop play. If we can quickly and assertively intervene, no one will get hurt. Here are some instances when you should stop play:
- When one dog is repeatedly whimpering and the other dog is not able to understand signals
- If one dog is scared and is trying to get out of the situation
- When the dog has playfully pounced on the child
- When the dog has playfully nipped the child
- When play growl has turned to aggression
- When your dog has become very anxious while play and is no longer listening to your commands
Are Dog Parks Safe For Dogs
Though we don’t have allocated places for dogs in India, we do have areas where many dog parents bring their dogs over so that they can play together. Are these areas safe for your dogs?
It may be only if your dog has had enough time to socialize with dogs in the past. Don’t let a dog park be the first time your dog meets and gets to play with other dogs.
Always make sure your dog has had time to exercise before they do to a dog park. This will reduce fights in the park. You must also make sure that all vaccinations are up to date for your dog and only allow them to interact with dogs that have their vaccinations up to date as well.
Other than their physical health, make sure they are following all the play rules mentioned above. We hope this article was helpful to you. Which other safety rules do you follow? Let us know in the comments section below.