Drifter had a morning of fun and play with his friend Tosca. Is was lovely to watch the two puppies having fun but also learning the social skills they will need in life. Both puppies are of similar size so make ideal play mates.
We monitored the play carefully and made sure it was appropriate and we did not get into a situation of “leaving them to sort it out between them”. Appropriate play is self monitoring and balanced. Playing chase is a sharing experience with both dogs taking turns. They both played really well but we were looking to ensure neither of the puppies were looking for somewhere to hide to get away from the encounter or deferring to us to get away. If this had happened we would have stopped the game.
If play is not monitored you can end up with situations where you are encouraging one dog to be a bully and the other a victim. This will have serious implications as both dogs mature on the way they interact and respond to other dogs.
After a while both dogs started to become tired so they were both encouraged to settle. This gave us the opportunity to chat and have coffee in the sun.
Some thoughts on planning a puppy play time.
Dogs are socially obligate and play can form an important part of a dogs life. But play is an emotional encounter and with every puppy being different consideration needs to be given as to levels and benefits of play. What may be appropriate for a confident puppy may need much more thought as to the way play should be approached for a more nervous puppy.
With play being an emotional encounter between puppies the predominate emotion will be one of pleasurable play. It needs to be consider however that in play if an individuals expectation cannot be met then frustration can be triggered. If good communication between both puppies cannot be maintained then fear and anxiety can be created and this can have a profound effect on the emotional outcome of play and future encounters.
Play undoubtedly is a positive experience for puppies. It provides an appropriate outlet for physical energy and also for mental stimulation. However it is overly simplistic to suggest that putting to puppies together and letting them get on with it is of a benefit to any puppies well-being.