Well, Rebecca shared with us some videos of Kepler playing with another friend -- a Pit Bull puppy named Marley. There's so much to learn from watching these two kids play.
As we discuss on the iSpeakDog Play Behavior page, dog play can look and sound pretty violent and scary. That's because when pups play, they do things like play-fight, play-bite, play-chase, play-flee, and, yes, even play-mount. So, how can we tell if the dogs are playing or fighting?
Meta-signals: These are body language clues dogs do to show that they are gonna "attack," but it's all in fun. Examples include play face (a big, goofy, open-mouthed grin) and play bow (forearms down on the ground/tush up in the air).
Self-handicapping: Those are some sharp teeth Kepler's got connected to his powerful jaw, but if he's self-handicapping, he's holding back his strength. Look for things like open-mouth bites, air snapping, tackling without putting weight into it, or a bigger dog letting a smaller dog tackle him. Ever see a Shih Tzu take down a German Shepherd in a dog park? That's self-hanicapping in action.
Role Reversals: Sometimes Kepler play bites; other times Marley does it. One dog chases, and then suddenly he's getting chased.
Activity Shifts: Healthy play includes a variety of the activities we discussed above: fighting, playing, chasing, fleeing, mounting, etc.
The video was shot immediately after the first one, and they did end up shifting activities again. Ever the alert dog guardian, Rebecca did what is called a "consent test" to check to make sure the dogs were still having fun. She separated the two and allowed Kepler to decide if he wanted to keep playing. Kepler trotted right back over to Marley for more puppy play.
Thanks, Rebecca, for sharing these great videos and keeping us posted on Kepler's happenings!
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Do you have an iSpeakDog "success story" to share? Do you have great photos and videos to help people better understand dog body language and behavior? Let us know!