Do’s and Don’ts of Puppy Play

img_2868Every Sunday I take Beau to the Humane Society Silicon Valley’s puppy social. The event is run by Beau’s trainer and hosted in the same room that his puppy classes were in. Needless to say he is always very excited to be there. A puppy social is a chance for puppies to interact with other dogs at the same developmental state that they are in. Unlike playing with an older dog, playing with other puppies allows Beau to work out a bunch of energy without a cranky dog correcting him or snapping at him. When dogs play together they communicate differently than people do to it is important to watch for signs that everyone is communicating properly.

Do let dogs have best friends.

Some dogs click better than others just like people. It have have to do with how they are raised or previous socialization experiences. Beau is particularly taken with a golden doodle named Hummus. This is partially because they have been on play-dates before outside of the puppy social.

Don’t let multiple dogs gain up on one pup.

Often times when there is a new dog to the group everyone wants to say Hi. This can be really overwhelming to the new dog which could lead to them standing their ground in the form of barking, lunging or even biting. It is a good idea for owners present to make sure their dogs are not crowding anyone for their safety and for the safety of the new dog.

Do give your dog a break or a timeout.

When playing, especially when your puppy is not used to being around other dogs, they can get overstimulated. If you can see the whites of their eyes they are probably stressed or over exerting. You can try to call them over to you but oftentimes I find I have to catch Beau and ask him to calm down with treats. Another sign of over stimulation in dogs is humping. Not only is it a sign that your dog is trying to prove its dominance but it is a little embarrassing in front of the other owners.

Don’t take your eyes off your dog.

While I know everyone at my puppy social and I know they are good people, I am ultimately responsible for whatever happens to Beau and whatever Beau is involved in. I am trying to get into the habit of being weary of other dogs and owners for when I eventually take Beau to the dog park. Right now another puppy cannot do too much damage but a distracted owner in the future could be the cause of trauma both physical and mental.

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