There are many reasons your puppy may not be playing correctly. Let’s take a closer look!
Signs your puppy isn’t playing correctly
Playing too rough: I am often asked, “When is play too rough?” This can be tricky because some dogs like to wrestle and others like to chase. One tip that works with wrestlers or chasers is to make sure both dogs are enjoying “the game” – it MUST be reciprocal.
If dogs are wrestling and one dog is always “on top”, I will separate the dogs. If the “bottom dog” comes back and wants to reengage, then, the play was likely mutual so I will allow the dogs to resume play. If dogs are chasing, I will stop the “chaser” dog and if the “chasee” comes back, they can resume play. If the “bottom dog” or “chasee” retreat, I know the play was not mutual.
If your dogs are playing but you are not sure if it is appropriate, try catching the chaser and watch their body language. If they display a relieved look on their face, this may mean play is NOT reciprocal. If the chasee looks back like, “hey, keep chasing me” then IT IS reciprocal.
End of play
Another important part is that puppies NEED short breaks (nap time) in-between play. End play BEFORE your dog gets too tired!