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 Play fighting

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janandruby44
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Sun 16 Jan 2011, 9:25 pm

Ah, something Ruby and Elsdon could play with, where do you get them from ? I have visions of me mugging people in the high street for their scooter tyres lol!
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K999
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Mon 21 Feb 2011, 8:30 am

when I working with staffies at the rescue centre I'm always pleased if (fair and even)playfighting breaks out, it shows both dogs have good trust in each other which means neither are showing the fear or aggression often associated with staffies in rescue centres. This can help their rehab no end!
here's a video I made to show two Staffies (mines the am staff) initiating their first play session and I've added some (there literally are loads) of the play gestures....

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ropemonkey09/5285147642/

I'm trying to to a similar one for a more intense play fight but the gestures during that are so often and so fast the video would have to be slowed down or freeze framed and I ain't that good yet!
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suziet
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Mon 21 Feb 2011, 8:45 am

Awwww lovely videos peeps

I liked the notes on your video Adam - xxxx
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lindauk
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Mon 21 Feb 2011, 10:20 am

can you tell me k999 what dogs mean when they play what we call "nippy neck" its nipping while running together of each others neck ?
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Staffylover
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Mon 21 Feb 2011, 12:39 pm

Lovely video and the play seems really gentle. When Reuben plays with Max the play is normally a lot more intense than that with a lot more body contact although I do recongnise some of the gestures. Reuben likes to 'stalk' his playmates and will lie down and then pounce.

I would love your opinions if I can find a video of them playing

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K999
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Mon 21 Feb 2011, 1:25 pm

thanks for the comments!

Hi lindauk, always remember playfighting is basically honing skills dogs need to survive naturally, or skills which the particular breed has been developed for. For instance, all dogs can play fight but not all would 'herd up' others for fun. Nipping is generally a pretend bite, as in if they were fighting for real it would have been a real bite and hold. The neck is always a target for this, my two are often 'straight for the juggular' when playing. I like to watch to make sure they take it in turns and their play seems even, one chases, then gets chased, one grabs, then gets grabbed etc etc.
Hi Staffylover, it was very gentle play, my Miz is a master of chosing the right type of play and these had only just met so full on fighting would have been too much. I'd love to see a video of Reuben and Max playing, I like to study body language and I'll let you know what I think.
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lindauk
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Mon 21 Feb 2011, 3:40 pm

thank you for that info k999
i was concerned about it, but knew there was no nastiness to it
if you know what i mean ta
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Staffylover
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Mon 21 Feb 2011, 6:31 pm

Hi Adam

This is the best I can find, photobucket is playing up and wont play a lot of my vids for some reason.
Not sure if you will be able to give much comment on these but thanks for looking x





He gets a bit overwhelmed on this one and has been like this before when they are both a bit OTT with him



With my other dog (the vid is bout 4 minutes but you get the gist of how they play)



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K999
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 1:00 pm

Hi Staffylover
great videos,
I had a good look at the first one, it's brilliant! It's is a fantastic example of how animals practice life skills through play. The chase games at the start are pretty normal stuff but then Reuban goes into (mock) predator hunting mode, he lies low, hiding from the prey (the tubby Rottie) then when he thinks the prey can't see him (when the rottie heads in the opposite direction) he attacks. He runs straight and hard right from behind at the blind side of the Rottie, smashes him to the ground and lands on top of the felled target! Now imagine that was on the african plains and the rottie was a deer or young buffalo (or small elephant the speed Reu was going!!!), the dog would then go at the downed preys neck and kill, earning it'self a well won meal!

But as Reuban was only playing, as soon as he floored the Rottie he immediately jumps off, gives the rottie a yard or so of space then gives a quick play bow to show he's only playing and runs off allowing himself to now be the prey in a chase game.

So it's all fun and all fair, brilliant! And fair play to Reuban, that Rottie doesn't look a pushover, literally. But that sort of play wouldn't be wise with smaller dogs, older dogs or pups, Reuban got some force into the takedown!
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janrats68
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 1:06 pm

erm its quite funnt as bonnie playfights with enzel in funy way denzel just riolls over in his back n let her get on with it ther4 have ben times i ive told them both to rein it in as shes got a bit to ott for hinn hes snapped st her only puuting her back in er place thouigh mijd u thing did chngw 5thi moring as denzel was acting silly wuth her fire nth first time and id firghetn gher bit but its good tht hes finky ecvpeting her wen we are out she just neda grown a bit so she vna rough anf tumnblr with hi buit more he wrid though denzleas hes vrh giid atg judling hoe toher dogs wnat to play he eth tjhrm tske the lead and she aslo copong everyhting he deso jow that why she laernig sifast phew spinner smile
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Jo n Buffs
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 2:18 pm

mine dont do nippy neck but they do a lot of chiccken legs as we call it they are both grab each others back legs and look as if they are having a good old chew although when we look theres no marks nothing
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janandruby44
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 5:53 pm

Elsdon and Ruby do the play rearing initiated by Elsdon, sometimes he uses his head to get underneath her but I insist on no chewing of back legs for obvious reasons, if he does I will then step in. Most of the time though she can hold her own and he is on his back having his ears chewed. He is the master of the toy though when they are running about which sometimes gets her quite annoyed so I again step in and make him leave the toy and calm her down. Quite complex these dog games aren't they?
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K999
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 6:23 pm

I find the leg chewing thing is very common, it's basically a gesture towards 'hamstringing'. This is the tactic of damaging preys hamstrings (a big tendon in the leg) rendering the prey immobile.

My two always do it when play fighting, it should never be so hard it causes a reaction out of the context of play.
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Jo n Buffs
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 7:16 pm

its never hard just gentle tugging and gnawing ( have stopped it now as buffy has done ger cruciate in )
ive allways wondered why they do it so thank you spinner smile
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Staffylover
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 7:21 pm

Thanks Adam, Reuben can be a bit full on. He has been friends with Bess (who I agree is overweight!) for almost 18 months and play is always full on. She weighs 42kg so he is used to playing rough and hard, he seems more at home playing with the bigger dogs.
He has know Max since he was a pup and he is now 15 months old and although they do play quite full on it is not as full on as with Bess.

Thanks for looking and giving me your feedback, I find your comments very interesting and look forward to learning more

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wids
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 7:26 pm

Really enjoying reading all this and learnt loads......just one question for me though...how do I train myself to trust the girls to play.

I am loads better than I was but because they have a history of aggression I just can't ( or won't ) relax and I think we are stopping them from doing what comes naturally.
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suziet
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 8:53 pm

Great replies Adam - very interesting too xx

I had posted a video in our video section for you to take a peek if you would bekind enough please
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janandruby44
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Tue 22 Feb 2011, 11:34 pm

Jo n Buffs wrote:
its never hard just gentle tugging and gnawing ( have stopped it now as buffy has done ger cruciate in )
ive allways wondered why they do it so thank you spinner smile

That's why I won't let Elsdon go for Ruby's back legs, it was too expensive to repair those cruciates. I do feel that I restrict his play because of it and I did wonder if it was linked to downing prey. He's also the master of tugging at her neck and face but she has now got used to this and just waits till he lets go and goes for his ears big style spinner smile She gets her own back as he hates his ears being chewed.

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suziet
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Wed 23 Feb 2011, 6:54 am

I am so pleased I read this as the boys also go for each others back legs - albeit gentle - but definately something to bear in mind xx
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Wed 23 Feb 2011, 12:38 pm

Hey Jo,
the 2nd video is also good, I'd never had put Chloe at 13 yrs by watching that! She's still full of beans, and the one starting all the chase games which isn't often the case with older dogs. But Chloe looks to be dictating things, which is good as Reuban notices and learns when to ease off. A good example is when they bomb it down the hill and at the bottom Chloe just slows things down by putting some yards between them, sniffing about and ignoring Reuban, who responds by calmly wandering over.
I'm still impressed by Reubans speed!
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Staffylover
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Wed 23 Feb 2011, 2:05 pm

Hi Adam

Yes he is very fast. He is very athletic in build and we do try and do a lot of excercise and vary it as much as possible. He is a fantastic flyball dog but due to injuries and unwanted behaviour when he got excited I decided to stop taking part. He is also a very good scent dog and he loves doing scent work which we try to do every week at training classes, he tends to get a bit distracted when doing scent work when we are out and about ourselves. We also started him on an introduction to agility last week, just the tunnels and one jump but I am not sure if we will take this any further but he loved the tunnel suprisingly. We are also doing a bit of rallyo which we only do at training but would like to try and pursue that locally. We tend to do a bit of this and that at training as he has been through all the training classes and it is more for fun now and socialisation, although he can still be a grump on occasion but we manage that.

In the second vid that is Max on the field, the 4th vid is Chloe x

Thanks for your comments

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K999
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Wed 23 Feb 2011, 3:36 pm

Ah, I take it Max is a bit younger than Chloe then! lol.
Good work with Reuban, if all dog owners gave their dogs such an enriched variety of exercise and stimulation problem dogs would be few and far between! Best of luck with the agility, he looks built for it, plus it'll be good to show others how versatile Staffies can be!

Your 4th video is a good example of well mannered play between and older dog and a younger dog. The are both relaxed and respectful of each other. Notice how young Reuban does most of the work and Chloe does little more than stand around. This is so much like mine (they have a similar age gap). I counted around 8-10 play pauses (a pause in play to make sure the intensity doesn't increase), look for them, they are at about 22 secs, 1m11secs, 1m19, 1m27, 1m58, 2m07, 2m53 & 3m19.

what I love most in neither dog at any point trys to defend itself, proving they have nothing to fear from each other. They always have a vulnerable area (neck, stomach, legs, rear end) available to be attacked again showing trust. And, if you watch Reu, after each (pretend) aggressive gesture he either drops into a play bow or drops onto his back just to make sure Chloe knows he's only messin.
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PostSubject: Re: Play fighting   Wed 09 Mar 2011, 7:31 pm

Hi Liz (wids),
sorry, I missed your question before!

I always find relaxing around dogs is one of the toughest things for an owner to do. Dogs will deal with the situation as it happens, it is people who anticipate the worst and their body lanuage will reflect this. If you think the dogs are going to fight, you will tense up to some degree, the dogs will see this tension a mile away and then become tense themselves. Once tension is introduced to an encounter it is difficult for the dogs to relax and trust one another, things can turn ugly from here.

My advice is to RELAX! just pay attention to the dogs body language and if you do feel uncomfortable, stay calm, show no tension and remove your dogs situation in an easy loose manner. This will probably mean altering the situation from the dogs focusing on themselves to focusing on you. For instance, teach the dogs that when you whistle they come to you for a treat, then if things get a bit too much for you, whistle and take the dogs focus off each other. Then make a fuss of them so the whole situation stays positive.
You say your dogs have a history of aggression, that means much more to you than it does to them. If two dogs at the rescue fight, I'll give it a few minutes then reintroduce them in a calm manner and walk them together so their last association with each other is a calm, relaxing, fun and positive experience. I can only do this as dogs only react to what is infront of them, if they are faced with a calm dog, there is every chance they will also remain calm (unless I'm working with a dog with entrenched associations and reactions, then the whole process is done slower).

But just work at your pace, read up on body language (from several sources, it's not an exact science) and gain confidence from watching what you learn happen in reality. Two great books to start with are; "How to speak dog" by stanley coren, and, "Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide: Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog" by Brenda Aloff. Both very useful.
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