Thursday, August 14, 2014

Play Behavior

My finger isn’t on the pulse of a damn thing. The quality of dog training in the last decade has increased tremendously. I’m retired, so I don’t write so much about training or life style with dog issues any more. Plenty of fine people do that.
Having said that, I’m about to talk to you about living with dogs and what I believe the dogs like because I’ve been reading stuff that says adult dogs don’t like to play, that we’re treating them like furry humans and that’s wrong, that we’re imposing play on them because we really want to play.
Yes, some dogs get over stimulated in day care; that is a management issue. That doesn’t mean a dog shouldn’t play with others. Is it an individual choice or a behavioral limitation? I’d say yes on both counts; how about you?
Does this dog need behavioral counselling? Only if it’s important to you that the dog do something it’s not currently comfortable with or good at? If it’s an issue for the human, it’s an issue.
Please, don’t try to tell me that adult dogs don’t play, that they only play because we want them to or expect it of them. Even if that were the case, so what?
Dogs that are reasonably well nourished and not in pain play in the cool of the evening here in the country, where they have room to run. Dogs seek safe play companions.
Robert "Red" Redford

Nobody wants to play with Blondie unless she’s extremely solicitous. The boys Lucky and Robert Redford play together or with Chi-Ping and she gets bitchy if they’re too rough with her, so they play best with each other. Lucky gets in Red’s face when he gets carried away. Blondie can be a real asshole when she gets pissed so she has to show a lot of play face and soliciting behavior before they play with her.
In the morning, they lineup to go hunting with her, so it’s not that they don’t want anything to do with her.
The dogs here play when they want to because I rarely do anything other than live with them. I am a totally non fun human being, but when I am fun they love it. They show off how they can run. They compete for my attention.
As long as they know my ground rules, the satos on the hill do what they want.

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