Friday, August 9, 2013

FitDog Friday-- Play Time!

FitDog Friday is co-hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Slimdoggy and To Dog with Love.

A great way dogs get fit is by playing. I'm pretty sure that dogs burn a lot of calories when they play.

Kelly isn't too experienced at playing. She's lived with two senior dogs before--first our yellow lab Hudson, then our 11 year old golden rescue Brooks, and they never played with her. But Ike is 6 years old and very playful. Kelly is a bossy female and likes to be top dog. We just wanted Kelly and Ike to be able to live together peacefully. But lately Ike has been starting to initiate play. At first Kelly whined and retreated. Now she's starting to play. I wasn't sure if their interactions were friendly or bossy. Could they escalate into something too rough? So we took a video and showed Shelagh, one of the wise and experienced people at our rescue group.
What do you think? See if your interpretation agrees with the expert!

What She Saw: Shelagh said that both dogs were interacting pretty well. She noted that they both initiated some play, and that Ike responded well and backed off when he should. She saw that Kelly shut down a bit when Ike stood up, indicating that his size intimidates her. On the plus side, she said, Ike did a good job at staying down on her level. Toward the end, when Kelly puts her paws on Ike's head and stands above him, she was telling him "I'm boss and top dog." Then her play gets a bit more frantic and she gets snippier.  Shelagh said that I picked the right time to call it off, and noted that Kelly retreated to her favorite spot to chill down.

This interpretation made me feel hopeful that Kelly and Ike will be okay!


  1. Great post and great video. This looks like very balanced play to me - I had this video of my first dog and Kayo playing analyzed by a trainer because their play seemed so rough:

    Thanks for the blog hop and the messages on keeping our dogs fit!

  2. Great video. I can see a little bossiness in Kelly, but also an interest in playing. Ike is handling it well. Fingers crossed they work it all out and become good siblings.

  3. Two French BulldogsAugust 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Kelly, give in. I make every buddys play with me
    Lily (& Benny)

  4. Since Gizmo is an only dog we joined the Doggie Social Club to give him the opportunity for "play"...Most of the other dogs are quite large, so he doesn't really get to wrestle but he does get some great chases in with the big guys

  5. So glad things are working out! :)

  6. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsAugust 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I saw a lot of Ike giving into Kelly and letting her be the boss. I'm no expert, but that seems like a good thing to me. That was great that you did have an expert look at it! I know there were many times with my dogs that I wasn't sure when the play was going too far, and I probably often broke them up before I needed to.

  7. Thank you for sharing that with me. Who'd have ever thought that sometimes it is difficult to watch our dogs play?! I'm guessing the analysis showed that your dogs were playing well? They both look fairly relaxed about it to me, so it looks good. Thank you for stopping by!

  8. You are right. As long as they continue to respect each other's boundaries we should be okay. I probably break things up a bit too soon as well but I figure it's better safe than sorry.

  9. Chase is probably the most fun!

  10. Thank you! Ike is used to being with another dog, and they probably played. In that household Ike was the boss. I wonder what he thinks about having the tables turned!

  11. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsAugust 9, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Yes, that's what I always figured too!

  12. He'll be finding out - I don't think Kelly will be giving up the spot.

  13. Yeah, the trainer told me it was just fine - they did get a tad rough at certain points but it was OK. It was so new for me when I adopted Kayo to see dogs interact like this. I thought Kayo and Lucky hated each other but turns out it was just extra special love!

  14. Words With WienersAugust 9, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    I'm not an expert... so I have to judge from a non-expert point of view, which includes four questions/observations.
    Are both of their tails wagging? Yes. I've never seen a dog wag its tail while in a state of aggression, so I always judge a wagging tail to be a good sign... although occasionally dogs do wag their tails when they're nervous. But this looked like a mutually tail-wagging good time.
    Speaking of good time... that's another question... does it simply look like they're having a good time? Yes on that too. Another good sign.
    Are either of them baring their teeth? If so, it is often and do their tails stop wagging during the baring of teeth or not? In this case, zero baring of teeth. Another good sign.
    Lastly, are they pausing a lot and giving the other dog time to react, or is one continually attacking (even if totally playful) with no time in between... like just "getting at" the other dog constantly. Nope, they both paused a LOT and really seemed to respect each other's space.
    Is one being more submissive than the other? Yes, definitely Ike in this case, which is a great thing since he is the larger dog.
    Overall, from a non-expert's perspective... it certainly looks like they are just flat-out playing and very happy to be doing so. Yay!! Will it last? Who knows? They may get over the "newness" of each other and settle into a more relaxed relationship... you know, the way things happen after you've been married a while ;)

  15. That is great. I guess dogs have different style of play and I suppose if one dog didn't like it, he'd have made it known. Glad they had fun!

  16. What a great analysis. Thank you! About the tail wagging, I agree that their wagging looked relaxed rather than tense or stiff. I also think your comment about pausing was a good point I hadn't considered. They haven't played often but I'm always nearby in case it should go too far. Once in a while Kelly had a look that seemed like she was getting a little too bossy, but I think she controlled herself, probably because Ike was so respectful.

  17. Words With WienersAugust 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Yeah, all you can do is observe. We had LittleBear for five years as an only dog and didn't know how things would go when we adopted Li'l Girl. But it didn't take them long to start playing and I have some pics where it looks like they're trying to kill each other. They weren't. They were having a great time, and it made us sad that we couldn't get him a companion sooner (we lived in an apartment at the time and were only allowed one pet). They stopped playing as much as he got older (he was already at least nine when we adopted her) and he passed in October of last year. In their almost four years together, they had become very close. After they no longer play-fought and did zoomies together, they still remained very close, both physically and emotionally. One was never far from the other.
    We have Austin now, and he and Li'l Girl haven't bonded the way she and LittleBear did, and one thing that really stands out is that they don't play. She *tries* to initiate play with him sometimes, but he doesn't quite "get it". She'll want him to do zoomie chases and sometimes she can get him to, but it doesn't last long. They are getting close in other ways, but it's definitely been a slow pace. I think if he would play with her more, the bonding would be quicker and perhaps closer.
    So be thankful for the play and don't break it up unless you can tell that things are really taking a negative turn.


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!