Basic Training

10 Tips for Keeping Your Dog’s Playtime Fun & Safe

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Playtime with your dog is very important for many reasons.  It is a time for exercise, bonding and just plain fun. Below are all of my tips for you to keep in mind about playing with your dog and also feel free to visit our website and share our videos about playing.

  1. First tip is to remember that all dogs have different play styles. Some dogs just want to play chase, others want to roughhouse and some are just fine playing some tug-of-war. It is really important to make sure to pair up a dog with an appropriate partner. Some dogs might not like being chased by another dog and could start a fight. Or if a dog really likes to pin another dog down and bite at them and shake them, they should not play with a dog who could get really afraid but another dog would totally love that!
  2. Some dogs can sound super ferocious when playing. It might sound like they are killing each other . As a dog owner you need to make sure that both dogs are okay with such “mean talk” and are not intimidated by it.
  3. You can roughhouse with your dog yourself, however you need to keep in mind that not everyone likes that. So teach your dog a cue that means, you can roughhouse now. I like to use “Come Get Me” or “I’m going to get you”. This way your dog knows when it is okay to go crazy with a human and when it is not.
  4. Always initiate play first. You don’t want your dog to start roughhousing unless you have approved it. This way he will not “surprise” another person who comes to your house and who might take it as an attack.
  5. You should always supervise your children with dogs. Even the sweetest dog could accidentally hurt a child and then be put down. Especially when it is not your child!
  6. Personally, I allow my dogs to play bite me, but some people do not like that. Dogs can learn how to play differently with different people. You just need to have a special word for your dog that tells him “go crazy” — keep in mind, that play biting is only when the dog puts his mouth on you. I stop playing if the dog puts pressure behind his bite.
  7. Watch that your dog does not get over aroused. Arousal can turn into aggression. As soon as you think your dog is too wild, just stop playing and be boring.
  8. Same thing goes for playing with other dogs. If at any time you feel like one of the dogs is getting a little “crazed” do a short time out. Then let them back to play.
  9. When dogs are playing together, make sure no one is holding on to teach other. When a dog holds on to another dog’s skin or fur, injuries can result really quickly. Just say “Ah Ah” and/or separate them.
  10. Do not worry about dogs rolling over too much. You dog is not a “sissy” they might just like to play like that or they could be trying to get at other dog’s level. Especially when playing with puppies.

About Guest Author Aly DelaCoeur and

Aly DelaCoeur combines her love of dogs, years of experience, and the most up-to-date animal behavior science in Her goal is to help you and your dog have a fuller, happier, and more rewarding relationship. Our unique platform optimizes content for consumption and sharing. Content is presented in mobile-optimized, short, to-the-point pieces designed to give just the information the user is looking for whenever they need it. All content is Creative Commons licensed to encourage sharing and reuse.

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