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Ask Amy Shojai: Poisonous Table Food & How to Keep Pets Safe

Must Know Puppy Care & Puppy Play Tips

by | Aug 21, 2015 | Dog Training & Care | 18 comments

NEW-PUPPY-COVER-kindleReminder, gang…for some reason this poor lil’ puppy book hasn’t been widely adopted. So I’m again making it available for reviews. Message me in the comments if interested!

COMPLETE PUPPY CARE is now available for your puppy-licious reading pleasure. I’ve included a brief excerpt below about how to tell when GOOD puppy play tips over into DANGEROUS games. That’s just the tip of the furry info, though. Please share the news about this book with all your puppy and dog loving peeps.

WANT A FREE PDF TO REVIEW?

COMPLETE PUPPY CARE includes more than two-dozen SQUEEE! cute puppy pictures (including Magical-Dawg as a baby), plus all the puppy must-knows. Those who subscribe to my PET PEEVES newsletter (click here & get another book free!) got the news early–and TEN folks won a free copy in exchange for posting an honest review. I’m nervously nail-biting until those get posted!

I’ll make the same offer here–post in the comments for a chance to review a free PDF copy of the book (the first 10 requests get the book!).

ABOUT COMPLETE PUPPY CARE…

Nothing beats a cute puppy for love, but proper puppy care and training prepares you and your new dog for a healthy and long life together. This up to date new guide provides a “Puppies 101” packed with veterinary facts, health care advice, how-to tips, and fascinating information about:

  • Choosing, training and communicating with your new puppy
  • Pros and cons of purebred versus shelter/rescue sources
  • Understanding common behavior problems and how to prevent them
  • Food, grooming and humane training recommendations
  • Tips for introducing your puppy to adult dogs, cats, babies and kids
  • The latest veterinary recommendations for preventive care
  • How to recognizing common health issues, and what to do
  • First aid and home remedies that save you money—and your puppy’s life!
  • More than two-dozen SQUEE! cute puppy pictures
  • Canine legends, myths and fun puppy facts including: Why puppies drink from the toilet, why dogs act guilty, reasons dogs hump your leg, and more!

COMPLETE PUPPY CARE empowers you with all the information necessary for your puppy to grow up into the happy, healthy dog you both deserve.

PlayHERE’S THE EXCERPT…

“Just Kidding” During Play

Dogs use exaggerated behaviors, called meta signals, to tell other dogs all action that comes after is not serious but a game. For instance, the play-bow is a butt-in-the-air with front-end down position where the pup’s forelegs dance back and forth to invite play. When your puppy first play-bows, he’s
telling you that any growls or wrestling that comes after are meant as fun and games.

Adult dogs often “pretend” to be subordinate to a puppy—with play bows or rolling on the back—to build up the pup’s confidence and invite him to play. This “just kidding” game allows lower-ranking pups to practice being in charge with play bites, mounting behavior, and wrestling games. Once the
play is over, the higher-ranking dog again assumes his more “mature” behavior that tells the pup to respect his leadership.

BAD VS GOOD PLAY—KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE

Dogs of all ages enjoy playing. Behaviors for fighting and fun are similar, but you must know how to tell the difference between aggression and play-acting. Watch for “meta signals” which tells participants that whatever comes after is meant in a “play” context.

Dogs commonly drop toys on your feet or lap to solicit a game, and offer toys to other dogs in the same way. A play bow—the dog sticks his butt and tail into the air, and bows forward on lowered forelegs that dance side to side—is the classic signal and invitation for the games to begin. Often, the
“fighting” behaviors seen during such games will be exaggerated to indicate play, or the “fight” behavior sequences may be jumbled.

Play includes inhibited mouth-open bites often aimed at the legs and paws of other dogs. Dogs also paw and bat each other without force to hurt. In appropriate play, all the dogs willingly participate. If you suspect one of the dogs doesn’t like the activity (one dog repeatedly tries to escape or hide),
gently separate the pair to see if they go back for more. If the play session was too rough, one will sneak away.

Inappropriate play results in one or more dog frightened, hurt, or overwhelmed. Bully dogs always end up on top, while in appropriate play you’ll see dogs take turns chasing and pinning each other during wrestling. Mouthing aimed primarily at the head or neck, or uninhibited bites means play has gotten out of hand. You’ll hear yelps from the bitten dog.

Consistent play up on hind legs may indicate problems. Ongoing mounting, clasping and thrusting also can lead to problems, as can resting of paws, heads or whole bodies across other dog’s shoulders to intimidate or achieve social status.

Growls don’t usually indicate problems, but play can be so exciting that the action escalates into aggression. Listen for louder, lower pitched growls,and be prepared to break up the session before they get too aroused.

***

Okay now, what about YOUR puppies and dogs? How do they play? Is it polite, taking turns, or is there some bully behavior involved? At my house, Magical-Dawg’s best play buddy is Karma-Kat and that involves a whole new set of signals.

Don’t forget–post your comment for a chance to review a free copy of the book!

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

18 Comments

  1. Talent Hounds

    Hi Amy, wish I had interviewed you for our Puppy TV episode 18 months ago. Maybe we should chat now and I could add in an interview and promotion of the book in a post or posts on Puppy Play and Care? I add it to the book list anyway.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      That would be very cool, would happy to do an interview. Just email or message me, thanks!

      Reply
  2. Carleen

    Looks like an awesome book! That puppy on the cover sure is cute too!

    Reply
  3. zoephee

    Sounds like a great book! With our dogs, it really depends. Sometimes they do play rough and sometimes Zoe will be a bully. When they get too rough I just ask them to take a break. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Robin

    What a great guide for dog owners! Understanding your pets’ behavior is so important to your relationship with that pet. I bet this will go over great with your reviewers!

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Wonderful! Please email me amy @ shojai.com (no spaces) and I’ll send you the file! Thank you in advance, and I hope you like the book.

      Reply
  5. valsilver

    Didn’t know why I was doing it, but after doing the butt in the air pose I often roll on my back when playing with Ted. I’ll review if you’d like.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      LOL! I’ll email you the PDF soon, thanks a bunch and I hope you enjoy the book!

      Reply
  6. Sweet Purrfections

    After listening/reading the kitten book, we know this must be a great book.

    Reply
  7. Jodi Chick (+ Koly & Fe)

    For Kolchak, “playing” with his cousin Lu means what we call “chicken legging” him – grabbing him by the leg like it’s a piece of fried chicken. Like you say though, we know it’s play because Kol’s bite is so inhibited and because Lu will run over and throw himself down in front of Kol, presenting himself to be chicken legged. These two are ridiculous!

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      That is hilarious! “Chicken legging” (making a note of that…)

      Reply
  8. Elizabeth Keene

    Oh, how I remember the joys (and challenges) of raising two crazy corgi puppies at the same time. 🙂 Wish I’d had access to this back then (but I guess they turned out alright, considering). Shared; hope you see an uptick in interest! So important to train puppies correctly…

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      I think my first dog turned out ok despite my mistakes and I learned lots to help my future pets. Ain’t it grand dogs are so forgiving?

      Reply
  9. Fur Everywhere

    Having read your Complete Care for Cats book, I know that this book also contains a lot of great information for puppy owners. I hope the word gets out about your book. I know it will benefit the puppy owners who read it!

    Reply
  10. maryehaight

    I enjoyed reading your examples on play and how to spot escalating behaviors above — there are so many details new puppy people need to know! Must be pretty overwhelming, and it sounds like your book would be a great help to many. I shared over at Animal Cafe (FB) 😉

    Reply

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