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Is it a playing behaviour or aggressive behaviour?

It is important for dog owners to have a good understanding of dog body language, warning signs, and natural behaviour in order to properly interpret and respond to their dogs' needs. This knowledge helps prevent misunderstandings and potentially dangerous situations, both between owners and during interactions with others in public spaces like parks. It is advisable for owners to educate themselves about these aspects to ensure the safety and well-being of their dogs and those around them.

Make sure before you are labelling a dog as "aggressive" to have enough knowledge about their natural behaviour.

When seeking advice from a professional about a dog's behaviour, it is important to trust their expertise and avoid arguing with them, particularly if you have limited knowledge on the topic. Professionals have the experience and training to assess and understand dog behaviour effectively.

Just as you would trust the expertise of doctors during surgeries, it is important to trust professionals when it comes to dog behaviour and training. They have extensive knowledge and experience in their field, and their insights are based on years of study and practice.

Dogs play by chasing, tackling and nipping at each other.

Signs of playing behaviour:

  • the play bow

  • big open-mouthed grin

  • relaxed body language

  • bouncy movement

  • loud, continuous growling and snarling - (if the person is not an experienced owner or doesn't have too much knowledge about the dog's behaviour, this point can confuse and lead to labelling a dog as aggressive)

  • the dog keeps going back for more play

Signs of aggressive behaviour:

  • tucked tail

  • stiff movement, no bounce

  • the hair on the dog's upper back is raised

  • closed mouth, curled lip, warning growl

  • ears pinned flat

  • the dog will get away from the situation (who is the loser of the situation)

How can you prevent the fight (rough play)?

It is important to monitor play between dogs and recognize signs of discomfort or roughness. If play becomes uncomfortable, it is recommended to separate the dogs for a brief period to allow them to calm down. Additionally, teaching your dog a reliable recall command will help you intervene and redirect their behaviour when necessary. To prevent possessiveness and potential conflicts, it is advisable to keep toys and food out of the play area.

"The above lists are applicable to both adult dogs and puppies. Many of our clients often claim their puppies are aggressive, yet 95% of these puppies exhibit normal dog behavior. However, due to a lack of knowledge on the owner's part, these puppies are often labeled as "aggressive" early on in their lives. It is unusual for puppies to display aggression up until 12 weeks, provided they come from a reputable breeder or owner and are appropriately separated from their mother and siblings. The lack of socialization in these cases can contribute to aggression in the dog's later life."


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