Let Your Dog Be a Dog

I was thinking about this the other day while I was watching twenty or thirty of our dogs wandering around and or playing in our big pasture. To watch the happiness and joy, that all the dogs were displaying whether they were running around playing with each other, digging a hole to nowhere, trying to catch a flying insect or just rolling in the grass, brings a certain warmth to my heart knowing that without us things would be very different for them. (See Videos)

Often times the beginnings of the behavior problems that you may encounter down the road with your dog, are directly related to the restrictions of a dogs doggy activities that we attempt to instill and or require at the early stages of the dog life, puppy hood.

By not allowing your dog to be a dog, we are inadvertently stifling one of the most important behavioral remedies for a dogs long term happiness, fun, which is directly tied into any future behavior problems that your dog could develop.

Another word, we start confusing an animal when we stop them from doing something that they consider play but for whatever reason we don’t think it’s play.

There’s only three ways that a dog knows how to play with another animal, regardless of the other animals species. Those three ways are play fighting, tug games and running around like a maniac while playing, ‘You can’t catch me, you can’t catch me’.

The Spirit Dog

copyright © 2009 a.s.papszycki


3 Responses

  1. Yah. I was thinking how you keep saying “three ways that they play with other species”. And realizing that my terrier cross likes more than anything to play “pounce” with me. I run my hands under the covers and she “gets” them. I normally think of this as a cat’s game, but she loves it. It’s a terrier thing. 🙂 Anyhoo. It got me to thinking that it didn’t fit into the “three” categories and got me to wondering how you classified it.

    I can totally see the tug, chase and fight play between my two dogs. BTW the best thing I ever did was get a second dog. I really see the difference when there is just one raised in a family. Having a companion allows the dogs an outlet for all their “doggy” stuff. I never knew half the stuff dogs did till I got a second one!

  2. Hi Adrienne,

    Well, what I was really talking about is the three ways dogs play with other dogs. As far as them catching something whether it’s an inanimate object or a little critter, they will happily do that all by themselves. Now if another dog is around then it can turn into a tug game. Which by the way some dogs will totally get into, where if one of the dog loses its grip on the object the other dog will be all to happy to try and get him to grab it again. Then you can have the dogs that it’s really not a tug game, there really trying to take it away from the other guy.

    And yes fetch is kind of a version of this although in reality it’s a dogs prey drive that make’s them want to do this. They just don’t know it’s their prey drive yet until they finally catch something good. Then they think, “Hey man, that was pretty cool”. This is why dogs like fly ball, herding and retrieving so much, it’s their inherited behavior of “I gotta catch me sumpthin”.

  3. Ok. So what aout “cathc it and kill it” games? I’m assuming fetch is a version of this. My dogs don’t fetch. 🙂 But they both will pounce on something thrown. This can turn into tug but they are quite happy without.

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