Saturday, November 13, 2010

The importance of play when you have a reactive dog

Actually, even when you don't have a reactive dog.  I can't stress how important it was for me to learn about George's body language and vocalizations during play, whether it's with me or with his dog buddies.

It is especially helpful for me to know what "interest" or an "I'll pass" looks and sounds like when another dog approaches.

Play has so much value in "training', building relationships, learning bite inhibition, impulse control...the list is endless.

Not to mention the fact that it feels great to laugh and find playful ways to communicate and have fun!  You get to see a dog's sense of humour come out as well.

The flipside is you learn how quick it can turn into over arousal, trouble right around the corner.

I made this video for my puppy socialization class but wanted to post it here as well.  I love Marc Bekoff's article on play from Scientific America.   The-ethical-dog


Kristine said...

That is a very good point. Play is such a big part of a dog's life. And it is useful for so many things, including training new behaviours.

Thank you for sharing this clip, and linking to the article. I have a feeling I'll be referencing it in the future.

Daizy, George, Taiki n Keegan said...

oh good! In puppy classes it's always so rewarding to see even puppies react and tweak their playstyles when you praise or reward them for being hams rather than bullies. Even in play...rewarding the positive means they'll repeat it more often. Gotta love this positive reinforcement stuff.