Wheeeee, the new 1/2 day seminar on play that I did in California a few weeks ago is out now on DVD, thanks to lots of hard work by Alta at Tawzer Videos. You can learn more about Dog Play on my website, but here’s the summary:
The seminar focused on three aspects of canine play:
1) The Natural History of Play: What IS play after all? Who plays and Why? (Those questions turn out to be much more complicated than you might think and have all kinds of interesting implications for us and our dogs!)
2) Play Between Dogs: What do we know about the development of play in dogs? The seminar includes new research out of Barbara Smut’s lab in Michigan about the development of play in dogs and what is “natural” and what is not. It also includes an in-depth discussion, with lots of videos, about what is appropriate and what is inappropriate play.
3) Play Between Dogs and People: This section summarizes the good, the bad and the ugly about play between two species, who are both attracted by our shared high levels of play as adults, and troubled by mis-communications that occur when members of two different species don’t learn one another’s play signals and play styles.
The DVD is about three hours long, and although I guarantee you that it’s not perfect, I am a little embarrassed to admit how much time was spent tweaking edits, smoothing transitions and dying a thousand deaths while watching myself, my double chin and my silly hair do. If you think you don’t like photographs of yourself, try watching yourself on video. But what’s important is the content, and I’m pleased to say that people at the seminar seemed to find it interesting and enjoyable. I love the topic myself, and love the interplay of science and daily life with dogs. I hope you enjoy it too.
Meanwhile, when you read this we’ll be on our way to the Maasai Mara, staying at Tipilikwani Camp right by the river. On the drive there from Amboseli, we’ll stop to get gas, discover that our urine does not fall straight out of our bodies as we try to aim for a tiny hole in the ground in the “rest room,” and no doubt watch some typical ‘village’ dogs hang out in the shade. Here’s some from a previous trip, showing the universal display of status and active submission seen in dogs around the world: