Playing is a natural and essential occupation for dogs. Humans and dogs have different styles when it comes to playing behavior – while some prefer running and catching games, for example, others prefer playful brawls or so-called object games. Here you can find out more about the different forms of dog play.
It is essential that dogs can act out their play behavior. Play is part of social behavior and serves, among other things, to communicate with each other. In this way, tension is reduced, rankings are established, and the four-legged friend is challenged physically and mentally during the intensive game. As with the human play, some dogs are better at romping together, and some aren’t – this is due to differences in playstyle preferences, for example. While puppies tend not to be that picky about their playmates, most adult dogs don’t just play with everyone. Don’t push dogs that don’t want to play with each other.
Hunting Games: Run and Catch
Hunting games or racing games in which dogs chase each other sometimes look spectacular. Sometimes the fur noses run after each other at high speeds and try to catch themselves. The roles (hunter and hunted) are often swapped during the game. What the playful hunt looks like can vary greatly. Some dogs will run one after the other with almost no physical contact; others will switch from running to wrestling if someone is caught. Dogs get to know each other through play and adjust actions to keep everyone happy and having fun.
Brawls: The Playful Combat
Raufspiele is highly variable and often forms the next step after a racing or hunting game. The dogs roll over each other, under each other, into each other. It is “hit” with the dog’s paws, clutched and bitten, with no injuries. Dogs are insanely good at controlling their jaws, so nobody gets hurt during the fun fight.
Of course, something may go wrong with any game, and a dog gets bitten, and it hurts. Then the game should be stopped and the wound treated. Ideally, the physical conditions of the “fighters” are similar during the brawl. A Chihuahua will take little pleasure in a scuffle with a Newfoundland dog, and there is an increased risk of injury due to the difference in size and weight.
Mouth fencing: “Tooth for a tooth.”
Mouthfighting is a form of a fighting game in which the goal is somehow to get the other’s mouth between your mouth. What often looks dangerous for concerned dog owners, since many dog teeth can be seen, is usually harmless since the bullies typically take excellent care of themselves. In the context of foot-fencing, other regions are often used, such as the fur on the neck or the legs.
Object games: a game with tools
Object games involve objects, such as a stick or a dog toy. The things are carried around while playing, for example, or used as prey that the furry friends can “fight” about. Tip: It is better if dogs play with an object from nature that has no emotional value for any of the rascals. In this way, arguments about the beloved dog toy can be avoided.