So this may be a dumb question but ive never had two dogs before. I have a 7mo old lab and taken on a 8 week old shiloh shepherd. All is well now, theyre warming up to each other well. But how do i know if they are playing or fighting? Thanks
Pax was a rough and tumble kinda puppy and he and our neighbor puppy would go at it for hours.
Even though it may get rough, there are two simple ways to tell if it is going too far.
1) Are either tucking their tail or looking for an escape? If they are both a waggin, that is a good sign. Tail tucking can be an indicator of someone not happy.
2) Can they pause...even for a moment? If they can take a pause then go back at it they are not completely over stimulated and most likely good.
Growling and snarling are not necessarily "aggression" when playing.
As long as they are not truly fighting, I was always of the mindset of letting Pax learn what was too far on his own. He is a VERY social dog and is now VERY confident without being at all aggressive with other dogs.
I can just tell when my dogs are playing vs. actually fighting. Gentle nips and general barks are a sure sign of play,but if fur is flying and the barks turn into high pitched growls and barks, you know a fight is about to ensue. Observe their behavior, you'll be able to pick up on a lot of things.
I agree with @Pax; if there are breaks, if the body language is loose instead of stiff, no has tucked their tails or searching for an out, then they're fine. I've also set limits on Tessa's play with other dogs.
She's not so rough and tumble and prefers chasing and play nips instead, so when she gets too intense (usually her body just moves in a way I don't like) I call her off. Depending on how she responds I let her go back at it quickly or set her in time out to calm down. If she's too worked up and doesn't respond at all, i insert myself (pretty much in eye sight) and make a loud "hey!" that usually snaps her out of it and I move her into time out.