Friday, November 25, 2011

Looking at Play

I had two discussions this morning about play.  In both situations, we were trying to determine what was going on with the dog who had poorer social skills.

What did we learn?

  • Video is more useful than photos for this sort of thing.  While the photos could isolate one little part of the play, we also could have just had the dog at "the right moment" where his behavior could be interpreted differently. The video let us see things in context.
  • While we can rate play as "good" "bad" and anything in between, we also have to consider the play on the dog's individual scale.  In both pairings, the play was not good, but it was very impressive for that individual dog.
  • The other dog involved should be getting regular interactions with dogs who -are- good at playing so that the less-skilled dog does not dissolve the social skills of both.
  • If in doubt, call dogs out of play.
  • The poor social-skilled dog should only be around dogs with very good social skills. We don't want him to learn bad manners.

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