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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I have a question about playing with other dogs in day care centres. We have selected a really good day care centre (where my dog gets his own private room and play grass area away from other dogs). He gets to play with the staff members who supervise him constantly. They have different options for dog play (one on one, small groups, larger groups and with people only). We usually send him there for one day on Sunday and sometimes for a few days during the year for boarding. He had been doing great previously but this time, he went there for a bit longer than usual and the staff members brought up the issue of how stressed he was because he constantly wants to play with other dogs. He started ripping the pillow which he never did at home and always wanted to get to the other dogs.

My puppy is 7 months old and he is happy and excited around other dogs. My trainer has been doing desensitisation training with him so we have been able to get closer to other dogs in classes gradually with him focusing on me. He has never played with other dogs other than puppy school. The day care staff members suggested for me to allow him to play with one other dog selected for his temperament and play style.

While my trainer suggested me to just stop him from playing with other dogs because that might make me less interesting, I'm seriously considering allowing my dog to interact with one other dog (one on one play under staff supervision) so that he can learn better manners around other dogs during play. The dog the staff suggested for us belongs to the behaviourist - the dog is usually used specifically to rehabilitate other dogs' behaviour. So they stated that dog will be able to teach my puppy better manners around other dogs and engage in safer and proper play. The behaviourist also offered to record videos for me while my dog and hers are interacting and playing during doggy day care.

Do you guys think it's a good idea for him to play one on one with another calm dog that specialises in teaching him manners? The behaviourist will also be there to supervise and stop the play if they get too rough.

Thank you!!!
 

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While my trainer suggested me to just stop him from playing with other dogs because that might make me less interesting,
This sentence stuck out because I personally think you should let your dog have as interesting and fun a life as you can, and there is nothing wrong with him playing with other dogs, as you are the one who does everything else with him. Making the rest of his life boring, doesn't increase you in his eyes.

Also you can make yourself more interesting by playing with him too, fetch, flirt pole (keep it on the ground for puppies, not too much twisting/jumping and turning) Nose games, use a something like chicken to reward and teach him during these games and I guarantee you will be the most interesting person to him. There is so much you can do to make yourself way more interesting. I think it is possible to beat out most forms of entertainment (except perhaps a squirrel)
 

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Do you guys think it's a good idea for him to play one on one with another calm dog that specialises in teaching him manners? The behaviourist will also be there to supervise and stop the play if they get too rough.

Yes, I think this is an ideal situation for your dog to have some positive one-on-one interaction with another dog. I can't really see any reason not to take advantage of this opportunity.
 

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I don't know why some trainers think you need to be the most interesting thing in your dog's life. I guess if your dog lived in solitary confinement you could be. But seriously, it's just not realistic. You're not going to be more interesting than other dogs or new people or toys or strange animals. That's a lot of pressure on a person, and I don't think it's possible in most cases. My dog finds lots of things more interesting than me, and that's okay! You can still have a good relationship with your dog even if they enjoy doing other things too. If you want your dog to listen with distractions it just takes time, consistent training, proofing. But that doesn't mean your dog can't enjoy the distractions outside of training.

That sounds like a really good daycare you're at with knowledgeable staff. I think interacting with other dogs in a controlled environment would be great for him to learn dog manners and get to play with others of his own kind! It could possibly help with any sort of reactivity/frustration you're seeing too (desensitization?).
 

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I don't know why some trainers think you need to be the most interesting thing in your dog's life. I guess if your dog lived in solitary confinement you could be. But seriously, it's just not realistic. You're not going to be more interesting than other dogs or new people or toys or strange animals. That's a lot of pressure on a person, and I don't think it's possible in most cases. My dog finds lots of things more interesting than me, and that's okay! You can still have a good relationship with your dog even if they enjoy doing other things too. If you want your dog to listen with distractions it just takes time, consistent training, proofing. But that doesn't mean your dog can't enjoy the distractions outside of training.
If you are not the most "interesting" person in your dog's life then you will never have a well-trained dog that will always come when called. You want your dog to be more attracted to you so that they listen to you and don't go into instinct. A dog that is more attracted to their handler won't be reactive, won't resource guard, and won't have separation anxiety because the of the drive to connect that all dogs have. This drive to connect to their human began 40,000 years ago when man and proto-dog first started hunting mastodons together.
 

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If you are not the most "interesting" person in your dog's life then you will never have a well-trained dog that will always come when called. You want your dog to be more attracted to you so that they listen to you and don't go into instinct. A dog that is more attracted to their handler won't be reactive, won't resource guard, and won't have separation anxiety because the of the drive to connect that all dogs have. This drive to connect to their human began 40,000 years ago when man and proto-dog first started hunting mastodons together.
Alright, I'll just keep my dog locked inside so she can't see any birds or squirrels or other dogs and that way she'll only be interested in me! Super healthy relationship.
 

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Alright, I'll just keep my dog locked inside so she can't see any birds or squirrels or other dogs and that way she'll only be interested in me! Super healthy relationship.
I am not sure you are quite getting the concept if you think that in order for a dog to be emotionally bonded to their handler they need to be confined to the house.

A dog that is bonded to his owner is most definitely in a healthy relationship with said owner.
 

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I am not sure you are quite getting the concept if you think that in order for a dog to be emotionally bonded to their handler they need to be confined to the house.

A dog that is bonded to his owner is most definitely in a healthy relationship with said owner.
Bonded is not the same as the most interesting thing. And letting the dog do other interesting things does not detract from the bond. It's not always realistic to be the most interesting thing in the world to a dog. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
 

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Bonded is not the same as the most interesting thing. And letting the dog do other interesting things does not detract from the bond. It's not always realistic to be the most interesting thing in the world to a dog. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
If you want a well-trained dog it is imperative that you are the most interesting thing in their world. You don't stop them from doing interesting things, it is just when you need them to focus on you, for whatever reason, they will.

This is the problem the OC'ers have, OC can let you down badly when push comes to shove and the dog reverts back to instincts. A dog that has been trained to connect fully to their owner will automatically be a team player, and will be able to use its drive to overcome instinct.
 

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If you want a well-trained dog it is imperative that you are the most interesting thing in their world. You don't stop them from doing interesting things, it is just when you need them to focus on you, for whatever reason, they will.

This is the problem the OC'ers have, OC can let you down badly when push comes to shove and the dog reverts back to instincts. A dog that has been trained to connect fully to their owner will automatically be a team player, and will be able to use its drive to overcome instinct.
Finding something interesting and being obedient are two completely different things. I can guarantee you that Delilah found a dead mouse more interesting than me but she dropped it when I told her too. Not because I'm more interesting, but because I trained her to do so.

And I've seen lots of dogs trained with operant conditioning- both positive and balanced- that are completely in tune with their handlers and act as a team in various sports and working situations. Your bond with your dog is not necessarily dependent on the method you use to train it. So I don't see why you have such a problem with well researched, science based training methods.
 

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Yes, but the bond isn't created through operant conditioning. It happens outside of that, it occurs on an emotional, energetic level. No dog lives in a skinner box, YKWIM?
 

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I can't understand why a trainer would ever say don't let a dog play with another dog unless it was DA. Poor dog sounds very frustrated and needs to be able to play, and it sounds like a great environment to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I'm assuming that everyone believes it is appropriate for my 7-8 months old puppy to play with one other dog chosen for him?

I would hate to send him to the day care centre if he is frustrated all the time trying to play with other dogs and not being allowed to. I don't like group play because a lot of things could go wrong in larger play groups but I think one-on-one play under supervision should be okay and healthy for him by teaching him to play appropriately.

Thanks everyone! Please feel free to contribute more advice and thoughts. I would love to get an idea of what everyone things of this issue.
 

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I think that is an ideal situation to teach your dog how to play with other dogs. I have several dogs of my own so all my dogs are used to playing with each other. When I am in an obedience class, I do not let my dogs interact with other dogs, that is not the time to be social with other dogs. My Doberman has gone to doggy daycare and boarded there a few times in the past year and she gets along great and I can still run her off leash in Agility without her wanting to run off and play with the other dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think that is an ideal situation to teach your dog how to play with other dogs. I have several dogs of my own so all my dogs are used to playing with each other. When I am in an obedience class, I do not let my dogs interact with other dogs, that is not the time to be social with other dogs. My Doberman has gone to doggy daycare and boarded there a few times in the past year and she gets along great and I can still run her off leash in Agility without her wanting to run off and play with the other dogs.
Thank you for reassuring me that dogs can do both. My concern before was that he would be too distracted and excited to play with other dogs during training sessions and would thus lose the focus he needs.
 

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Definitely let him play with other dogs. I like smaller groups. In general my dog only meets 1 dog at a time and plays. 2 at the most. He is a puppy 5 months so I don't want him getting overwhelmed or maybe I just can't intervene fast enough. He hasn't been to any dog parks yet but next good weather weekend I will look to bring him to a dog park but only if there are very few dogs.
I wouldn't say loving other dogs is a problem at all. Sometimes I get jealous cause I really think he doesn't even know I'm walking him. I'm invisible when other dogs are around but it's the same with my kids when their friends are around. ��
 

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My dog was locked in a cage from the ages of 6 months to 2 years before I adopted her. When I came along and gave her attention I was the bestest thing in the world. That got her affection and love, but she also was indiscriminately affectionate towards other people (and still is a bit). The best thing I ever did was have her go to group doggy day care. She learned how to be a dog and somehow picked up on the fact that dogs have owners. I'm pretty sure it was due to the fact that all the staff showed the same affection to all the dogs.

In the end, dogs are dogs and need to learn how to be dogs from eachother--especially puppies. I'm not an expert, but I've seen it time and time again...there's very little as good for a hyper young puppy than an older, mature dog to "show them the ropes" in play and behavior. Dogs do learn from observation...that's why police dogs are often trained side-by-side with their retiring counterpart.
 
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