"Wrestling" with your dog?

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xKayleighx
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"Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby xKayleighx » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:30 pm

How does everyone feel about "wrestling" with your dog? As in getting on your hands and knees and just sort of "rough housing"... but only "good" behavior is allowed. Like only mouthing, and obviously no hard biting, not TOO rough, (you or the dog.)

I sometimes do this with Bruce but wonder if this interaction is not good for Bruce's behavior. He's never gotten out of hand during play and if it EVER gets too much (anything I'm not comfortable with) I quickly say "n'uh" my "negative indicator" and he immediately stops what he's doing. (I use "n'uh" for instance when I tell him "down" and "stay" and he starts showing signs of standing up, as soon as he hears this noise he stays back down just fyi)

He's clearly having a good time and loves when I do this, but again... is this interaction sending mixed messages to my dog, not good dog to human interaction, etc???

Thanks in advance!

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby Chasesmom » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:54 am

I don't really have a thought on the subject either way. My husband wrestles with Chase sometimes and Chase is really gentle when they play and usually just tries licking his face off. I know quite a few people on here don't recommend it bc I've seen threads on it before, but I don't think it's teaching him anything bad. He only does it when my husband initiates it and he calms down pretty quickly after it's done.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby SnowKoi2010 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:00 am

If you can handle that sort of play, I don't see the problem with it. I 'wrestle' with snow ever once in a blue moon and it hasn't seemed to have turned her mean or anything. Its a great way to burn off some of that energy that it may be too hot to exercise or to cold to.

If it is suppose to do bad, it hasn't yet.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby GSDBulldog » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:05 am

I think it can be a fun game, and- if anything- a way to teach positive human-dog interactions.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby haircrazie016 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:32 am

I dont wrestle with my dogs, and no one else is allowed to either. (This KILLS my dad)

My reason comes from seeing dogs turned into the shelter for biting, knocking over, being to big for, or to rough for the kid in the house. I dont want my dogs thinking its ok to put their mouth on someone. If I teach my dog this is how to play, by allowing them to mouth me and jump on me all in good fun, then I feel like I am setting my dog up to do this with the wrong person. They wont be able to help it they love people, they will want to play and I dont want my dogs to start mouthing guests who may get upset or scared. Also so many people who play rough with their dogs LOVE doing it on their time, but when the dog decides it wants to play, and the human is busy, then they are mad that their dog is jumping and mouthing them, this gets especially tricky when their are kids in the home.

My dogs are only allowed to play hard with me when theres a toy. I'll play tug until your dizzy, I'll play fetch until you flop over, I'll do puzzles with you until your little belly pops out, but I wont wrestle with you. If they want to wrestle they need to go to eachother for that! lol

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby SnowKoi2010 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:05 pm

I still don't see the problem with it. As long as you have a general set of rules to follow and IF the dog does get too rough then the game should end immediately, just like if you where to accidentally get nipped during tug or something. Snow doesn't rough play with kids either, she is actually very gentle around them. But it could just be her temperament. I wouldn't discourage it, as long as you are ready to set down ground rules with the dog about such play.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby xKayleighx » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:19 pm

Bruce also never initiates play. It’s only ever on my terms.

I can see both sides though. Thanks everyone for their opinion!

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby haircrazie016 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:29 pm

xKayleighx wrote:Bruce also never initiates play. It’s only ever on my terms.

I can see both sides though. Thanks everyone for their opinion!


If he never initiates that kind of play, then I would maybe think he might not like it that much either? I dont know my dogs love to play I have tennis balls and ropes and stuffies shoved at me all the time!

Snow, if I accidentally get bit during tug, the game doesnt stop. It was an accident, I look to make sure im ok and we keep on tugging, now if she were purposefully aiming for my hands then the game stops.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby Chasesmom » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:50 pm

haircrazie016 wrote:
xKayleighx wrote:Bruce also never initiates play. It’s only ever on my terms.

I can see both sides though. Thanks everyone for their opinion!


If he never initiates that kind of play, then I would maybe think he might not like it that much either? I dont know my dogs love to play I have tennis balls and ropes and stuffies shoved at me all the time!

Snow, if I accidentally get bit during tug, the game doesnt stop. It was an accident, I look to make sure im ok and we keep on tugging, now if she were purposefully aiming for my hands then the game stops.


Chase doesn't nip, bite, or mouth when he is wrestling. He just kind of opens his mouth a little and sways his head around touching his head to my husbands head. Lol. If that makes any sense because it is sort of hard to explain. I think the dogs don't initiate the play not because they don't like it, but because they know it is not their place (not to sound all alpha-ish or anything) but they just know that if it isn't started with them, it isn't something they should be doing.
I agree with gsdbulldog that it does seem to help teach positive interactions and let's the dog know what is/isn't allowed.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby SnowKoi2010 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:18 pm

haircrazie016 wrote:
xKayleighx wrote:Bruce also never initiates play. It’s only ever on my terms.

I can see both sides though. Thanks everyone for their opinion!


If he never initiates that kind of play, then I would maybe think he might not like it that much either? I dont know my dogs love to play I have tennis balls and ropes and stuffies shoved at me all the time!

Snow, if I accidentally get bit during tug, the game doesnt stop. It was an accident, I look to make sure im ok and we keep on tugging, now if she were purposefully aiming for my hands then the game stops.


I was reading in a training book about how to teach your dog how to play games like tug and stuff and they said that even if the dog accidentally nips you during play to quit the game. It was something about teaching the dog to be more careful about their teeth; like teeth plus skin equals game over. I play by those rules and even when we wrestle, snow may put my arm in her mouth, but she doesn't bite down or any thing. However. if she does I yell out in a sharp voice 'OUCH!' and the game is over and I go do something else. She has gotten WAY better since when she was a pup but its just ground rules you have to set with you dog to teach them what is okay during human play and what isn't. teeth to skin in the form of nipping and biting should never be allowed to progress in play. Or that's what I think.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby Stormi » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:20 pm

haircrazie016 wrote: if I accidentally get bit during tug, the game doesnt stop. It was an accident, I look to make sure im ok and we keep on tugging, now if she were purposefully aiming for my hands then the game stops.


If your purpose is to teach that teeth on human skin isn't appropriate, you're sending very mixed messages. Dogs' reaction times are 5 times faster than ours and they are very precise with their mouths. They know where their teeth are and they don't have "accidents". She simply has been taught as long as she doesn't exert too much pressure, the game keeps going. Tug is a fabulous tool to teach jaw prudence, but the rules must be clear and consistant.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby MissKitty » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:42 pm

Stormi wrote:
haircrazie016 wrote: if I accidentally get bit during tug, the game doesnt stop. It was an accident, I look to make sure im ok and we keep on tugging, now if she were purposefully aiming for my hands then the game stops.


If your purpose is to teach that teeth on human skin isn't appropriate, you're sending very mixed messages. Dogs' reaction times are 5 times faster than ours and they are very precise with their mouths. They know where their teeth are and they don't have "accidents". She simply has been taught as long as she doesn't exert too much pressure, the game keeps going. Tug is a fabulous tool to teach jaw prudence, but the rules must be clear and consistant.


Exactly. Some people are okay with being bitten, for fear of loosing drive.
But it is 100% unacceptable for my dog to lay teeth on me during play.
He did it once, the game ended and he has never done it again.

Dogs know where their mouth is going (IME) and need to be taught to discriminate.

Apollo is generally a little too sensitive to wrestle, but if he is interested then we play a bit.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby xKayleighx » Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:17 pm

Chasesmom wrote:
haircrazie016 wrote:
xKayleighx wrote:Bruce also never initiates play. It’s only ever on my terms.

I can see both sides though. Thanks everyone for their opinion!


If he never initiates that kind of play, then I would maybe think he might not like it that much either? I dont know my dogs love to play I have tennis balls and ropes and stuffies shoved at me all the time!

Snow, if I accidentally get bit during tug, the game doesnt stop. It was an accident, I look to make sure im ok and we keep on tugging, now if she were purposefully aiming for my hands then the game stops.


Chase doesn't nip, bite, or mouth when he is wrestling. He just kind of opens his mouth a little and sways his head around touching his head to my husbands head. Lol. If that makes any sense because it is sort of hard to explain. I think the dogs don't initiate the play not because they don't like it, but because they know it is not their place (not to sound all alpha-ish or anything) but they just know that if it isn't started with them, it isn't something they should be doing.
I agree with gsdbulldog that it does seem to help teach positive interactions and let's the dog know what is/isn't allowed.


Yeah, I think it's because I've trained him that things are sort of on my terms. For instance, Bruce isn't allowed to just jump on the bed whenever he likes. He knows he is only allowed on the bed once I've called him on. I'm pretty sure he understands this because in the morning or at night when I'm just lounging in the bed he stands there with his tail wagging and just anxiously waiting for me to call him up. And as soon as I say "come on" he flings himself on the bed.

I say this not to justify, but to clarify... so as soon as I'm on all 4's in kind of mimicked play stance, he's doing the same thing. And super excited that we're wrestling.

When we are in the house and cooking, watching tv, on the computer, etc he lays at our feet waiting for pets or he'll get up to nudge the doorknob to be let outside. When we have friends over I make him lay on his pillow until we call him over for pets.

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby haircrazie016 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:54 pm

MissKitty wrote:
Stormi wrote:
haircrazie016 wrote: if I accidentally get bit during tug, the game doesnt stop. It was an accident, I look to make sure im ok and we keep on tugging, now if she were purposefully aiming for my hands then the game stops.


If your purpose is to teach that teeth on human skin isn't appropriate, you're sending very mixed messages. Dogs' reaction times are 5 times faster than ours and they are very precise with their mouths. They know where their teeth are and they don't have "accidents". She simply has been taught as long as she doesn't exert too much pressure, the game keeps going. Tug is a fabulous tool to teach jaw prudence, but the rules must be clear and consistant.


Exactly. Some people are okay with being bitten, for fear of loosing drive.
But it is 100% unacceptable for my dog to lay teeth on me during play.
He did it once, the game ended and he has never done it again.

Dogs know where their mouth is going (IME) and need to be taught to discriminate.

Apollo is generally a little too sensitive to wrestle, but if he is interested then we play a bit.



I am going to have to disagree that they dont have accidents, she may know where her mouth is going but that doesnt always mean she knows where my hand is when shes all excited. Sometimes we adjust our grips at the same time, or sometimes the toy is too small. Trust me when it happens theres nothing light about the pressure, and there is no way it was intentional. I mean i feel like accidentally getting a piece of skin when she grabs is no different then when she accidentally misses the rope or only gets the very end, theres no way she intentionally missed the rope or didnt get a good grip... I mean maybe jack doesnt make mistaked and is precise all the time, but there is nothing graceful or precise about my Pig, lol Now if she gets over stimulated and starts chomping up the rope, then the game ends. I should also note that its not like everytime we play tug she nips me, it happens rarely, once and a blue moon. Our rules for tug are consistent, We dont play unless I want to, piggie cant grab the rope until i give her the take it command, when i say drop it, its not optional, and when i say over, that means the toy goes back in the box.

as for a dog knowing its not their place to initiate play, i dunno. I feel like you can have those rules where certain types of play is only on your terms and the dog understand that but i have trouble believing that a dog who wants to play is going to stop and say to themselves "mommy didnt ask to play so im not allowed to ask her" I could be wrong but my kids are always bringing toys out of their box and dropping them infront of me, just hoping ill tell them to take it and we can start playing, they know we arent going to play unless i say take it, but that doesnt stop them from asking me, just like kayleigh saying her dog knows hes not allowed on the bed until she gives the command, but that doesnt stop him from standing there "asking"/waiting to be told its ok...

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Re: "Wrestling" with your dog?

Postby Stormi » Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:57 pm

She's been rewarded for placing teeth on skin while in an excited state, so why should she do any different? It's not that she's "intentionally" trying to bite you, she's just never been taught to discriminate where those teeth go when she's highly aroused. The behavior has been reinforced, so she has no reason to think otherwise. To her, it's just part of the game. Hince the importance of a no-tolerance policy - she learns to control herself even when in a highly aroused and excited state. Dogs are much, much faster than we are and are quite capable of manipulating their mouths to fit within our rules of play regardless of where we put our hands or how quickly we move. As long as you are clear and consistant, there's no reason why she can't learn that teeth stay off human skin at all times if that is something you want to teach her.

Here's a really great article from the SFSPCA on tug and its rules (much of which it sounds like you already do):

http://www.urbandawgs.com/articles/tug.pdf


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