Let’s face it, when you think of a dog, “serious” is not in your vocabulary. Dogs are meant to play, run, and act goofy with humans and their dog friends. But sometimes play can get a little out of hand. What one dog is trying to communicate to their fellow canine may get lost in translation. This could lead to a dog indicating “Stop it” which, in our human language, sounds like: “Bite!”
There a few key things to keep in mind when taking care of pets to prevent bites—both friendly and not-so-friendly.
When a dog is protective of food/treats, a toy, or anything else they value, they are resource guarding. The dog often becomes stiff, shows their teeth, growls, and may bite. If you notice this behavior in a dog you’re watching, take preventive measures:
- Feed the dog separately from other animals in your care
- Take away the toy or object of value away
Remember that each dog is unique—different backgrounds, personalities, and breed-specific behavior. It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re watching a group of dogs. Always supervise dogs when they’re interacting with one another—even dogs that are best friends could be having an “off” day and make a mistake. Watch for behaviors and intervene if:
- A dog is stiff when approaching another dog
- A dog play-bites anywhere below the neck
- A dog is on top of another dog (make sure they alternate being on top—that’s good play!)
- When two dogs are standing for more than two seconds
- A dog is trying to play with another dog who clearly doesn’t want to play
- A dog is resting in close proximity to playful dogs. Be sure to keep playtime away from the resting dog so no one gets stepped on.
Big and Small Dog Interactions
It’s always super cute to see a big and little dog play. The size difference is enough to make anyone smile. But if a fight occurs between a big and small dog, one could be seriously injured.
In general, big dogs playing with small dogs is not a good idea. Again, even if a big dog and small dog are best friends, there could still be an incident if a dog is not feeling well, having a bad day, or simply doesn’t want to play. The best solution to keeping everyone’s tail wagging is to keep big dogs separated from small dogs. Hosting separate play sessions—one with small dogs and another with big dogs—to ensure a successful stay.
Dog safety and their happiness is our top priority. Supervising and taking preventative measures are great ways to let the dogs in your care to play and act like goof-balls without injury. Knowing the tips above will help you take extra care in preventing any issues. If an injury should occur, we’re available 24/7. Call our Rover emergency line at 888-727-1140—we’re here to help.