How Can You Tell if Your Dog is Playing or Not?

dog playing

A little dog play does a body good

A great dog trick that you can learn and drives us crazy is to pause at key moments in course of a game…
Did you know that peeps and dogs have something very unique in common?  It’s play, humans and us dogs play all our lives, which is unusual due to most other species stop playing as they mature. It’s the love of play that we have in common, no wonder we get along so well.

Watching good mannered dogs playing together is such a fun thing to watch. We run around, we chase each other, might even give each other a nip in the bum, or steal the ball and blast off. Sometimes though, we dogs can get over excited and fun and games can quickly turn to aggressive behavior.

While watching dogs play, it’s always good to gauge whether the play is getting to fierce. watch out for these signs, and if you spot any of these, its time to break up the party and refocus the dogs’ attention elsewhere.

Good body language at dog play

  • A wagging tail
  • The classic doggie play bow
  • Ears alert
  • a relaxed and open mouth

dog playing or not

Signs to look out for…

Standing still

Now the average play between dogs is a stop and start exercise, sometimes just to catch our breath or change on who’s being chased, that’s just natural. But sometimes if you see a dog standing and staring at another in a very still pose for more than a second or two, the game might of become too serious.

Hard looks

A happy and relaxed dog will wrinkle and squint their eyes. A more agitated dog’s eyes are wide-eyed and will stare directly at the dog he no longer feels like it’s “fun” to play with. If a dog is giving another dog a dirty mean look, its time to intervene.

Closed mouths

Playful dogs usually have their mouths open and basically giving their best doggie smile, or sometimes just to catch their breath after all that chasing. If you see a dog’s mouth closed and his muzzle is puckered, that is a sure sign that his mood may have changed to aggression.

Ears down And close to the head

Another sign of increasing intensity, and not usually very playful. Want to know more about was dogs ears are telling us? Click here

a classic play bow is a sign of playingWant to join in a little dog play

Although I’m more focused on playing with other dogs when I’m out, I do love playing with my peep as well, and find it a great time to bond. She’s always making up new games, and will surprise me by bring one of my favorite toys to the park, so I never know what to expect.

If you learn a few tricks in dog play, you can get your dog very excited too and he’ll want to play with you more.

A great dog trick that you can learn and drives us crazy is to pause at key moments in course of a game, for example hold the ball that your tossing over your head and give your body a little shake, and just watch your dog’s heighten level of anticipation. It’s exciting and not boring and it gets us jumping for glee! Another great way is to vary the games that we play together, try different toys that do different things so that we dogs don’t become bored.

Some dogs who have grown up primarily with people without much canine company may even prefer playing with humans…

Some dogs may become less playful as they get older, so try to keep a regular schedule where they do get a chance to play. This might be a great time to try a game that exercises your dog’s brain as well as his body. Experimenting with all the new brain and activity dog toys that are now available, regardless of how old your dog is, he may surprise you with new skills and talents that you never knew he had.

What’s your favorite game to play with your dog?