When dogs engage in rough play, without meaning to, they can harm themselves, other pets and even people. That’s why rough play should always be stopped.
Dogs are fast learners and pick up behaviors from other dogs – and people, too. If your dog does play too rough, it’s either because he’s caught up in the playing, he thinks it’s okay because he’s been allowed to play rough, or because the dog is asserting an alpha side.
When the dog begins to play rough, the play needs to end immediately. Remove the dog from the play or take away the object he’s playing with. When a dog gets caught up in playing, he’s too focused on the playing to understand that his actions could quickly cause him to be too aggressive.
If your dog begins to assert his alpha side, the play can escalate into serious biting as he attempts to subdue the other pet or person he’s playing with. Signs that your dog is playing too rough include his body language changing from relaxed to stiff and unyielding.
He’ll often stare in aggression and he’ll growl in a deeper growl than he normally uses that lasts longer than it usually does.
When your dog is playing with other pets, keep an eye out for signs that he’s playing too rough and stop him immediately. Don’t allow your pet to be aggressive with other dogs or people.
Give him a time out to let him calm down from the play before you engage with him. Never allow your dog to ever play like he’s biting you. Most people will put out and arm and let a puppy or small dog bite on their arm.
When the dog gets bigger and older, he’s learned that this is okay and doesn’t realize that his tiny jaws and teeth are now a lot stronger and sharper. Instead of letting the dog bite on you, encourage him to bite dog toys.
When your dog is playing too rough, like a child that’s engaged in inappropriate play, your dog needs a time out. It’s easy for dogs to get riled up when they’re playing – especially if they have some energy to work off.
Make sure your dog has a way of letting off some of that stored up energy before he starts playing. Take him for a walk or let him run around in the yard and chase a ball.