What’s Happening Here? Here is the Answer!

tucker and lily (1)

On Friday I asked you what you thought was going on here, at least as best one could tell from a still photograph. I'm the first to agree it's hard to say much from one brief moment in time, but it's a great exercise nonetheless. It helps us all focus our attention and generate hypothesis about what might happen next. It would be perfectly reasonable to suggest several different scenarios... Here's the story in this case: These two dogs are great friends and play together often. The yellow dog is a 4 yr old GR/Husky cross, Tucker, who has a tendency to nip faces when he plays. The white dog in the red coat is Lily, a 2.5 yr old spayed female Dogo Argentino, owned by Katie MartzĀ  here at McC Publishing. Lily was responding to what appeared to be an inappropriate play action from Read More

A Picture’s Worth a 1,000 Words?


Maybe not a 1,000 in this case, but what words would you put with this photo? What do you think is going on here? I'd love to hear what you all think. I know the dogs, the context and what happened before and after, so after I collect your input I'll let you in on the story. This might be a fun exercise for us to play every once in a while, yes? Let me know if you like the idea. I'll write another post on Monday and describe the dogs, their relationship and what happened immediately after the photo was taken. But before that I'd love to hear how you evaluate what you are seeing. And no fair cheating if you saw this on Facebook last week! It's just such a great photo I couldn't resist putting it out here. So... what's going on here between these two dogs? What are the most likely Read More

More on Play Styles; Dealing with Problem Players

I've loved your comments about play styles after the last post. Keep them coming. One of the points that was made by many of you, that I think bears repeating, is that many dogs can adapt and learn new play styles from others. This is especially true of stable, well-adjusted dogs who aren't overly reactive to something new or challenging. Along with chase games and wrestling, several of you mentioned hounds (and English Shepherds!) who like to play "catch the prey" by chasing, play biting and then mock attacks at the throat. Another mentioned a play style that I've also seen, that I consider truly problematic. In this case, the dog chases another dog until he catches up, and then bites the chasee, often in the back leg, and brings him or her down. Eeeps. I've seen this quite often, and it Read More

Play Styles & Status Seeking: Correlated?

A short post today, but with a pithy question generated from the last post on play. We all agree that different breeds of dogs tend to have different play styles, with herding dogs, for example, more likely to engage in run/chase games and bully breeds more likely to wrestle and body slam. Wrestling can include many behaviors, but a common goal of wrestling in any species is to pin another individual to the ground. A lot of the wrestling/body slamming play in canines also includes chin over, leg over, vertical play and other movements that replicate the postures and gestures associated with high dogs seeking high social status. So here's the question: Do the dogs (in general of course) who engage in body slam/wrestle play tend to be individuals who care more about social status? I'll add Read More

Interesting Play Styles

Here's a video of Willie playing with a Lily, a 4 month old female Dogo Argentino. He has just met her, and after a brief greeting by the farm house, we walked up the hill to the Orchard Pasture. I love watching videos of dogs playing; it seems that you can see so much if you watch them repeatedly. Here are the two main events I find most notable about this episode of play (along with the fact that Willie is playing so well with her! Yeah Mr. Will, what a journey we've been on together!) One, notice how Lily's play is so often on a vertical plane. Even as a young pup, she spends a lot of energy moving upward, and trying to get on top of Will. You'll see that especially at seconds 17, 23 and 34. There are other examples, but those are the first three that I noticed. Secondly, Read More