Dogs use games as a means of communication, however closely they know each other (when they live under the same roof as well as when they meet for the first time during a walk). What do their games tell us about their personality and how they connect with other animals?
How do dogs use games in their interactions?
On this matter, puppies are like children: playing games helps them grow up! Games are part of their education, and there’s a lot more to it than just distraction: they help puppies acquire social codes and learn how to live with their peers. Hunt, fight, differentiate friends from enemies, grasp the concept of hierarchy: as early as the first weeks of their life, puppies assimilate certain essential notions by playing with their brothers and sisters. Later on, games will allow them to blow off steam, and can even be used as a seduction strategy…
Up until the age of three months, dogs do not have clearly defined roles: some are aggressive, others submissive, either hunters or preys… Personalities take shape after this age: the dominant one calls the shots and the others submit to their domination. Which one will your dog be?
What types of games do dogs play?
There are two main types of games: fighting and hunting. Fighting is the first game that puppies experience. They love it! Just observe them: they climb on each other, jump, surprise their siblings, sometimes even bite each other quite hard! It’s not rare to hear them whine, but don’t interfere: it is their way of learning that biting, and getting bitten… hurts!
Hunting is like a high-speed chase: it’s the best way to exert yourself! It is more common for adult dogs. The “prey” and the “hunter” chase each other and the game can end up in a fight.
In any case, dogs know how to express their desire to play very clearly: when they feel like having fun, they will bend down and hold their haunch up. During game playing, make sure that there is no tension between the dogs: even though they seem to be fighting, the animals should stay relaxed and not hurt each other.
Games between dogs: what should you look out for?
Games teach dogs essential social interactions and allow them to open up to their peers. But you should set ground rules and make sure your dog follows them. Channel its enthusiasm!
– If your dog is an eager player, or a puppy full of energy, don’t let it badger with an older dog
who has less patience and unpredictable reactions.
– Also, don’t encourage game playing between two dogs of very different size: even though it
can be enriching (and fun to watch), the difference of build could lead to an accident…
– Finally, if one of the dogs clearly expresses that it doesn’t want to play (shifty behavior,
obvious lack of interest, aggressiveness), put a stop to it!
Playing is crucial for dogs, and used as a means of socializing throughout their life. If you feel like your four-legged friend is particularly excited and that it might get lost during a wild high-speed chase, set up a Weenect Pets GPS tracker: you can let your dog go hunting with its friends… while
you stay home and relax!