My family played rough with my lab when he was a puppy. I said no more. Now my dog is two. He wants to play rough. He pushes is toys in your lap, and gets almost aggressive. He is a sweet boy most of the time. How do I get him to stop? He will then be almost perfect. I use apple cider spray for somethings. I just show it to him and he stops but it does not seem to work for this. – Sheila
While pups will rough and tumble play with one another, which they were designed to do to build their muscles, coordination and wrestling skills, you can see the imbalance that human play without proper knowledge of dog play can create.
In your situation, you are going to need to spend some time re-socializing your dog on how to play with toys with humans in a softer and more relaxed manner. This process won’t take long if you and everyone in your house make an effort to be consistent, calm, clear leaders when reworking this habit of behavior.
Here are my recommendations:
- have your dog come in to where you are with his toy. each time he uses force, either ignore him or get up and walk away. don’t say a word or make the dog bad, just simply walk away and go do something else. if you don’t react, your dog is not getting rewarded and will thus lose interest.
- if your dog knows the “drop it” command, then simply have him drop his toy consistently at your feet or on the floor near you – just not in your lap. every time he does so, give him a cookie. this way we will be teaching him to have a clear boundary and to back off from being pushy or aggressive in your own space. each time he does, praise and reward with a pat on his side. if he is treat motivated, use a treat the first few times to really engage his desire to please you and reward him for the great work.
- when your dog comes to you with a toy, simply get up and redirect his behavior to a sit and stay. this will assist him in backing his energy off his determination to push his toy into your lap. always praise and reward for even the slightest attempt at a new behavior,
- as you work with your dog, make sure all touching of his body is done in a calm manner that allows him to associate touch with calm, as opposed to rough housing.
- my suspicion from your description of rough play is that your dog may also have a few vertebrae out of alignment in his neck due to “tug of war” types of games and getting knocked around as a pup. this undiagnosed discomfort can cause the dogs energy system to be on alert or hypervigilent with certain behaviors. i highly recommend having your dog see a chiropractor in your area to make sure his neck is aligned properly so that excess energy is more constructively allowed to flow and will reduce his pent up energy turning to pushiness which will make it a lot easier to assist in retraining.
- lastly I would suggest using a front clip harness for your dog. a harness can assist him in realizing how big his body is in space and time and teach him very simply how to back off his energy into a calmer state. I really like the Walk In Sync(tm) System. www.WalkInSync.com
It may take a little time but with consistency, clear, calm boundaries and the entire family being on board, I know you will make great progress.
Let me know how these recommendations work for you.
Paws Up! Alecia Evans, HDT, Inventor
Alecia Evans is the inventor of The Walk In Sync™ Humane Dog Walking and Training System with her exclusive 5 Minute Manners Makeovers using the Walk In Sync™ Harness and Accu-Grip Leash, along with her Walk In Sync™ 3 Easy Steps to teach any human/dog duos to Walk In Sync in just minutes.
The former host of the award-winning GrassRoots Aspen TV Series, The Whole Animal-An Alternative Approach to Animal Care, Alecia takes a natural approach to dog training and health care. Her work has been featured on Fox and Friends, The Sandra Glosser Show, NY 1, and in Aspen Magazine, DogTipper.com, The New York Daily News and Woof Report.