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Abby and Brady have been great at playing. Yes, Abby's bigger and seems to have more power, but Brady has learned to work around that. He fits underneath her and uses that to his advantage (runs straight between her legs, grabs her back leg and pulls...right on her bum she goes...ahahahha) Lately though she has been a little out of control playing, playing too rough. It's all in fun, but it's too rough for Brady. Brady comes running to me and sits on my feet while she barks waiting to play more. Brady does NOT get snarky. If he doesn't want to play anymore, he does so anyway to appease her. And if she gets rough, he does nothing...just deals with it and comes running to me. But I am not always there to "protect" him. And I think it's making him hesitate to play with her unless she is being submissive about it first (he will tackle her when she rolls on her back and wiggles but runs to be otherwise). I do "settle" and she stops until I let her start again but she is right back to the roughness. Is there a way to teach a dog to play more gently?
 

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That's what the older dogs do to show them what they are willing to put up with.  How old is Abby?  If she is close to 4-5 years old - she just may not want to deal with a puppy around.  If she is younger, it may be the best idea to not let them play unsupervised until the puppy gets like 8-9 months old.
 

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I agree.  You need to supervise the play and teach her to play more "mellow"  (word I use)  and if she won't take things down a notch a little trip to the crate to think about it works well for mine.  My 3 year old male doesn't appreciate the wild playing my 9 month old female likes to engage in.  I don't think it is a good behavior to let them continue and hopefully work it out.  The older dog is looking for you to be the pack leader and is letting you handle it as if he handles the discipline it might make the pup learn to use snarkiness too.  Your older dog is handling it in a wonderful way.  Mine is handling our rowdy pup exactly like yours.  Keep working on guiding and teaching your dogs.

Nano
 

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That's an excellant point. We have a neighbor who wanted the dogs to play together. We gave it a shot. Abby got too playful and the neighbor's dog snarled at her to let her know. Abby had NEVER heard this noise from Brady and hid behind me! It was hysterical. She didn't know what to do. My initial thought was that I wish Brady would sometimes do this, to find his own way of letting her know he was done playing or that she was playing too rough but you have a valid point. My concern is that we would eventually like them to have some freedom while we are gone...place them in a room together, rather than in separate crates because they love to cuddle together and I think it would be comforting to them...I want him to be able to handle the situation when we are not there to run to. But you're right...he seems to be handling it appropriately. I jsut worry he won't be able to adequately protect himself if she gets out of control.

As for ages, Abby is now 10 months. Brady is probably about 2 yrs old....not completely certain. I have noticed in the past week or so that when she gets snarky with him...he has fought back a little. Normally he runs away which makes it easy to break up their tiff because I just have to  hold her back to discipline her (a time out in a separate room has been pretty effective).

Typically, we do supervise their play (they have a separate playroom to romp around in) but occassionally, while I am showering or putting clothes away, etc...I just block off the upstairs to keep them up there and let them run between me and their playroom which means they have a few minutes at a time without 100% supervision. I intervene as soon as i hear "raised voices" and try to draw their attention to a toy or what not.
 

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We've had a bit of an issue with that also, but in my case, Samson fights back...Angel is a live wire at 20 mos and always is egging on Samson to play...Well my lovely, laid back senior will, until he's had enuf and then he either walks away or lets her know, he's had enuf..Generally that is all it takes, but sometimes she will continue and I do have to step in...All it takes from me is a very harsh, "ok guys, that's enuf"..I clap my hands and they both come to me immeadiately..I use that as a time out for Angel. Put her in a sit for a few minutes and then release her...

Brady isn't vocalizing to Abby that he's had enuf of her play, so until he will, I would say it's up to you to step in and keep the peace. I was laughing at Abby's reaction to the neighbor dog that snarled at her and you can see what happened, it put her off real quick...As they get more and more familiar with each other Brady may become a bit more assertive also...Don't foget, Abby is still a puppy too! She's growing and learning what her boundaries are...Lord help us from these ong boxer puppyhoods...Lol....
 
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