A Question About Play

I’m tossing this one out to you, dear readers.

Silas plays one and only one game with other dogs: chase. He doesn’t seem to care if he’s in the front or the back, he just wants to run. Heck, he doesn’t even care if the other dog is running with him–he’s happy to follow along while the other dog fetches a ball and completely ignores him.

I’ve been letting him play with other dogs a little more, and I’m seeing a behavior that I’m not really sure about.

Say Silas wants you (you in this scenario are a dog) to play chase. You’re sitting there, chewing on some clover, having a nice time not playing. To get you to stop sitting and start running, Silas walks up behind you and pokes you in the rear end with his front paw. It isn’t a mounting thing, just a poke. (It’s actually eerily similar to how my husband “gets” Silas when they play chase.)

Is this an acceptable doggy protocol, or is he being a bully? Someone at the park on Friday said that they hadn’t really seen a dog do that before. Is this going to get us in trouble when he’s playing with someone larger than 15 pounds? His body language is good, otherwise.

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6 thoughts on “A Question About Play

  1. Sadie prefers chase as well. Except she does this poking with her snout thing (like pecking) and often barks to get dogs to chase her. Some dogs love to play chase; others hate her pecking. We watch closely and intervene if we see that the other dog is bothered by her behavior. She too loves the dogs who are fetchers & will run along with them never interested in their ball.

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  2. It sounds like Silas picked up this behavior from your husband. It seems harmless to me. But that doesn’t mean a dog who is started by the rear approach might not cause trouble.

    Maybe you want to see if your husband could “catch” Silas by poking him in the side and maybe Silas will adapt his behavior.

    I think it’s adorable that Silas loves to run. My dog, Christie, used to like chasing big dogs. They were so far ahead of her I don’t think they even knew she was playing with them. πŸ™‚

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  3. The poke in the rear (with paw or nose) is something I’ve seen other dogs do to to indicate that they have this neat new chase game to play. Unless the other dogs think Silas is a pervert or something it seems harmless.

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  4. Wow – he just pokes them? When I had a recovering foster – B grew frustrated with him because he didn’t want to play and she gave him a serious smack with her paw right on his back. So a poke sounds fine to me. I love that he learned that from your husband though!

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  5. The pack loves chase! As for poking or as married with dawgs put it – pecking, we see lots of that. Forest is usually the one to poke/peck and he learned that after not getting any reaction from the blind girls. A quick poke and they are off running! It’s not always a nose, sometimes it’s a paw to get their attention.

    I would think (based on my dogs) that if a dog doesn’t want to play, it will ignore or give a sign of non-interest/leave me alone. If it’s a stranger that you’re not sure of, just watch that Silas doesn’t startle the other dog who might snap at him. Otherwise, just have fun!

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  6. I love that Silas is doing to other dogs what your husband does to him! I’ve never seen a dog play this way before, my dogs usually run up to the other dog’s face and make some type of motion and then they start playing.

    This reminds me of a song I taught my niece when she was younger. It was the “Little Teapot” song and at the end she had such a priceless look on her face that I took my finger and tapped her in the chest. Anytime she sang that song for someone she tapped them in the chest. πŸ™‚

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