Play in the puppy
In animals, the notion of play is not opposed to that of work as in humans and its useless connotation. The game of animals is often serious and productive. That's the way to look at it. Game in animals is always spontaneous and often reproduces real situations, but in an exaggerated way. The dog seems to hunt something, but its movements are disproportionate.
The repetitive aspect of the game is obvious in the puppy, who brings back several times the ball that the master must raise. The game evolves according to the age of the puppy , the relationship with his mother and his environment
The evolution of the game according to the age of the puppy
From 2 to 4 weeks
The first manifestation of a playful behavior can be observed around 4 weeks, that is to say at the beginning of the socialization period . Puppies 2 to 4 weeks old have very short play periods that are often composed of nibbling sessions. They are rarely solitary. The puppy plays with his mother or with the litter. The game is pretty awkward. During this period, the puppy can take a closer look at his body through mutual licking and chewing.
From 4 to 5 weeks
The puppies really play as early as 4 weeks old. They throw themselves on each other and fall to the ground. They then take things and run together. Play is fundamental to the pup's good psychic development.
The puppy becomes aware that he can play alone with an object. He then takes characteristic positions as against a prey and defends his toy at the approach of a congener. The puppy also discovers the playful fight : he can take another puppy by the neck or the ears, lift him up and shake him.
The puppy bitten makes, during these combats, the discovery of the pain and howls. This allows the biter to become aware of its bite and inhibit it during play sessions. As soon as a bitten puppy shouts, the attacker looses hold. It is therefore essential not to intervene so that both sides become aware of the "bitten" and the "biter". If the teacher intervenes, the learning of this notion can not be done properly.
From 5 to 7 weeks
The game fights are perfect, the puppies are dropped, real game strategies are established . Many adult attitudes of subjection or dominance emerge during these sessions
From 7 weeks to adulthood
The puppy plays very often and the intensity of the games becomes important. It is at this point that the game can turn to the master and that he must be very vigilant. sexual exploration is emerging. The puppy quickly makes it clear that he wants to play
The signs of invitation to the game
The playful reverence
There are different types of signals that allow the puppy to understand that he wants to play. The playful reverence is the most well-known sign of the masters: the forelegs are bent, the puppy rests on his elbows with the rear train raised.
The exaggerated approach
The puppy approaches the congener very quickly by hopping and swinging his head to one side. During the approach-withdrawal, the puppy approaches and then backs up by jumping and returns.
There is also a mimicry of the game, vocalizations, playful jumps.
From the mother-puppy relationship to master-puppy
The puppies solicit their mother to play by biting her ears, chins or tail. But the mother very rarely plays with puppies, the invitation often remains unanswered. The puppy alone in the litter will be deprived of the game with the others.
On the other hand, the mother sometimes plays with the puppies after weaning . Thus, the teacher must adopt the attitude of the mother towards the puppy, if he wants him to understand the relations of hierarchy. The master remains the master of the game . It is therefore very important for the master to know how to play with his dog
The limits of the game
It is interesting to know the limits of the game at the puppy. When should we consider that the puppy plays to bite and when should we think that it has exceeded the limits? Many masters can not recognize the boundaries of the game and thus jeopardize the balance of the dog.
Aggressiveness is not appropriate in the game. the bite is paramount. The game has a specific role that varies depending on the evolution of the dog and his relationship with his master.
The game is still educational in the puppy and is never a loss of time. The management of the play sessions by the master is one of the bases of the education and the awakening of the puppy.
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