Healthy dog play can sometimes look rough and tumble and fierce and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if you are concerned about it, your dog may indeed be playing too rough. Managing off-leash playtime with other dogs can be a real issue.

I think my dog plays rough with other dogs.  How do I manage it? Is it okay?”

Training for Socialization

Like most things, it takes practice before your dog is ready to socialize off-leash with other dogs. Starting with basic obedience training dogs begin to learn what we expect of them when off-leash, especially around big distractions like other dogs wanting to play. We recommend practicing recall with a longline in the vicinity of other big distractions like at the park. If you don’t feel comfortable letting your dog play or feel the situation shift, call your dog back. Read our full guide to socialization: Having a Well-Socialized Dog.

Recognizing When to Step In

Dogs need us to step in at different times and remove them from a rough play situation, much like a referee or a parent supervising at the playground.  Basic obedience training and building a relationship with your dog are basic steps to learning to read his body language around other dogs.

Some dogs can only handle a couple of minutes of play with other dogs before ramping up and getting out-of-control. Others are able to play nicely for long periods of time. It’s your responsibility to read your dog’s body language and be aware of the tendencies that require your referee skill. Stop excessive rough play just before it escalates. This takes careful watching of your dog at play and the foundational training to be able to remove your dog at the right time.

Skip the Dog Park

Dog parks are a good concept but unfortunately are not the best place to train your dog how to have fun. Some owners feel that they are a place for dogs to blow off steam, run free, get charged up and avoid any supervision. Going to a dog park encourages rough dog play when other owners abdicate their responsibility for dog management. Dog parks can compromise all the training you’ve done to get your pet into a calm manageable state of mind. You may even feel compelled to manage other owners’ badly behaved dogs, which may put you in a difficult conversation with those owners. For this reason, we do not recommend dog parks for training good playtime habits. 10 Things to do Instead of Going to the Dog Park

Learn to Trust Your Dog

Learn to trust your dog and know his needs for reasonable playtime. When you choose respectful play situations for your dog you are standing up for the major value of dog obedience. By advocating for your own pet you will begin to see more respect for your commands and appreciation in a relationship built on healthy play.

Looking for additional training tips and support?

Team Puppy Training

Encourages your leadership and show how you to nurture good behavior. 

Foundation Training

Covers the basics of good dog behavior as well as some behavior modification.

Remote Collar Training

Foundation Training with e-collar for total off-leash freedom and behavior modification.

What our clients have to say...

Dog Coach listened carefully and observed keenly my interaction and tone of voice with Bella. At nearly 6 months now, she is the best-trained dog I've had. It was a worthwhile experience!

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DOG COACH builds confidence, comfort, and control in dog handling skills so families can trust their dog and have more fun.

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