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Cerb is a very sweet dog. Since we got him at eight weeks, we have taken him to Jane's school every day to walk her home. He has become very used to kids and really loves interacting with them.

We have also allowed him to play rough with all of us. By this I mean wrestling, hand in the mouth, etc....he NEVER clamps down and seems very aware of how far he can go. He also has a great off switch for this type of behavior.

 

Last night, we were playing a board game and Cerb wasn't involved. I'd given him a rawhide bone to chew on, but as usual, he ate it like a Snickers bar. Jane got up to do something and as she was walking past, Cerb reached out and gave her a nip on the ankle. The nip was more startling than painful, didn't come close to breaking the skin, was a definite solicitation to play and he was very contrite when she reacted....but it scared us none the less. Not so much for the danger as much for the perception of danger that might arise in a stranger, or, heaven forbid, a child.

 

Cerb has had plenty of off lead interactions with strange kids and he will "kiss" (working on that) but has never solicited rough play from them. Can we contnue to play rough (within boundaries) or do we need to walk this back?

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Cerb has had plenty of off lead interactions with strange kids and he will "kiss" (working on that) but has never solicited rough play from them. Can we contnue to play rough (within boundaries) or do we need to walk this back?

 

How old is Cerb?

 

Your question is hard to answer because we can't see Cerb and we certainly don't know him. Plus, we all have our individual levels of comfort in how our dogs interact with people outside "the pack." If you are sure, Cerb was simply trying to initiate play with the nip, then I'd say you handled it about right. At five, Quinn is still a bit of a brute in his play despite my attempts to get him to be more gentle. For that reason, even though he loves kids, his interactions with them are carefully supervised. I don't think he'd nip them in play but I worry he'd knock them over and scare or hurt them. If the activity is structured, like fetch, he does very well and he loves hugs and kisses. But I monitor closely and intervene with kids and/or Quinn to keep things relatively low key (as low key as it can get with shrieking, giggling girls for example).

 

I've rough housed with dogs who enjoy that sort of play all my life. I think it is important that they know when they need to stop (game is over, that'll do, take a break) and when they need to be more careful. For instance, Quinn is pretty good about putting himself in a down when he starts to get too rough for another dog. I guess enough times of being told to lie down at those moments will sink in. :rolleyes:

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Cerb is ten months old. When I say he has a good off switch I mean it. I say "Calm Down" and he does immediately. I'm just worried about the perception of the "transient nips" that occur when he's bored and wants someone to play with him.

Our ten year old daughter is probably the biggest roughouser of our pack.

 

How old is Cerb?

 

Your question is hard to answer because we can't see Cerb and we certainly don't know him. Plus, we all have our individual levels of comfort in how our dogs interact with people outside "the pack." If you are sure, Cerb was simply trying to initiate play with the nip, then I'd say you handled it about right. At five, Quinn is still a bit of a brute in his play despite my attempts to get him to be more gentle. For that reason, even though he loves kids, his interactions with them are carefully supervised. I don't think he'd nip them in play but I worry he'd knock them over and scare or hurt them. If the activity is structured, like fetch, he does very well and he loves hugs and kisses. But I monitor closely and intervene with kids and/or Quinn to keep things relatively low key (as low key as it can get with shrieking, giggling girls for example).

 

I've rough housed with dogs who enjoy that sort of play all my life. I think it is important that they know when they need to stop (game is over, that'll do, take a break) and when they need to be more careful. For instance, Quinn is pretty good about putting himself in a down when he starts to get too rough for another dog. I guess enough times of being told to lie down at those moments will sink in. :rolleyes:

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I'm not at all an expert and really have no experience with this sort of thing, so take my thoughts with a boulder-sized grain of salt.

 

From what I can tell your concerns are that he will be somewhat violent in initiating play, and possibly that he may get too rough during play. If that is the case, it seems to me like it is actually important to keep up the rough play, but manage it very strictly. Under no circumstances is he allowed to initiate forcefully. I would suggest that any attempt to do so should earn him an immediate time out. He really should be playing on your terms, not his.

 

If he gets to rough during play, I know Victoria Stilwell's method is to give a high pitched squeal - like the sound another puppy would make if he got hurt - and immediately end the game.

 

Just my completely uninformed two cents.

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I'll echo the last poster. If he's getting a bit too insistent in his desire to play, I'd curb that and time him out.

 

Hey, I think play is wonderful, I love rough-housing with my dogs. Our dogs are welcome to greet us with a toy and invite us to play, we love a good game of tug-o-war and sometimes a good wrestle is just fun. However, hubby and I have the ultimate say in whether it's play time or not, and when it's time to quit. A firm "that's enough" is part of our play lexicon, as is, "No, that will do - Out."

 

So, in the interests of preventing some future mishap (i.e. the neighbor kid who doesn't know dogs and goes into hysterics over a playful nip) I'd advise correcting him for over-zealous demands or invitations to play. Hope this helps! :rolleyes:

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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Thanks folks. I asked the question out of an over abundance of caution but I really want Cerb to be a good citizen. I just talked to my wife and we're going to make sure we address this and to give our daughter tools to make sure Cerb doesn't start treating her like a sib.

Thanks.

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