Dog play styles vary widely among dogs, but we see these 5 forms of dog play most often at Fitdog. Some look scary but are actually safe while others seem benign, but can lead to trouble.
Dog play styles and what they mean
You’ve seen this a hundred times. It looks like dogs are sword fighting with their mouths, and it usually involves them bouncing and jumping at one another. This is actually one of the least dangerous forms of dog play styles at daycare. Well-socialized dogs are sensitive and respectful to their playmates and restrain their bites so they don’t hurt their friends. Of course, accidents can happen, however, but during dog wrestling, it would really be an accident.
Ever watch a Boxer play? Well, they do, in fact, box. Typically boxing involves two dogs jumping up at each other and pawing (boxing) each other. If you get two Boxers together, it might appear aggressive but they are probably having the best time ever. Because it is an intimidating play style that can cause offense to other dogs, we put it in the medium category of safeness and don’t allow it unless we know both dogs mutually enjoy the play style.
Hefty dog breeds like Bulldogs like this play style. The premise is that one dog runs full speed and slams himself into another dog (or human). It’s very fun for the dog doing the slamming and not so fun for the dog being slammed. We like to prevent this type of play if possible because we don’t want anyone to get hurt (like a strained knee or something). Like boxing, however, if you get two slammers together, they will have the most fun knocking each other out.
Without proper supervision, this is the most dangerous form of dog play. In the game of chase, one dog always likes to chase and the other dog likes to be chased (the runner). Unfortunately, if the chaser catches up with the runner, it could cause the runner to feel cornered and panicked. This scenario places one dog as the predator and the other as prey and it can get ugly. At daycare, our dog handlers heavily monitor chasing to make sure there are no unfortunate endings.
This differs a bit from chase. Just like with humans, tag involves a lot of stop-and-go movements that resemble keep-away and hide-and-seek. Dogs generally bounce around moving to and from each other in a playful way. This is a fun game, especially for little dogs that can hide inside of the play equipment.
Whatever your dog’s play style, we always try to keep the dogs safe at Fitdog Club. Tell us! How does your dog like to play at the dog park?
Post updated on April 24, 2019.