==> Dog Play Styles? Why?
Know your dog - Have more FUN!
Dog Play Styles
With dog play styles I don't mean this, no
Prior to the next Periodical on Dog Games, we should first cover the Play Styles that are typical for German Shepherd Dogs. This Periodical will hopefully help you to determine your own dog's predominant play style, and which play styles your dog uses in which situation.
When you better understand your dog's behavior and preferences during Play, you will find it much easier and more rewarding to have FUN with your dog, much more often! Then your dog will have more FUN too, yeah!
So, let's briefly go through some key dog play styles relevant for German Shepherds, and why this is helpful. Let's start with some important general points:
Note that your dog's ultimate play style may not become apparent before age 2 years - when the adult dog's temperament reveals itself. Puppies that may appear say boisterous now can be reserved as adult dog - eg due to lack of comprehensive socialization as a puppy.
This is a widespread mistake made by too many dog owners: "My puppy is sooo sociable, he plays with everyone!" - Yes, all healthy puppies do that. No surprise here. But this doesn't mean the pup is well-socialized, it only means the pup is healthy: (s)he is playful - all healthy puppies are playful!
You got an adult dog?
When puppies aren't immediately and comprehensively socialized (because "the puppy is sooo sociable already!"), they all present significant dog problems later as adult dog - whether or not adopted from a prior owner or shelter. We get an endless inflow of socialization-induced problems here on our site.
One cannot determine before age 8 months the earliest if a puppy is well-socialized. Many adult dogs 2 years of age and older are left with shelters, and the reason given is: "Oh dear! This dog has issues!" - No, he just wasn't socialized as a puppy, because the owner thought: "My puppy is sooo sociable"...
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!
Make sure you don't deduce your dog's general play style from specific situations which are only temporary:
- dog feels weak or ill
- subtle injury unnoticed by us
- dog knows (s)he is in another dog's territory
- dog feels insecure for whatever reason
- dog is hungry or dehydrated
- dog is constipated or has a bladder infection
- dog is in pain
- dog wants to stay close to owner for protection
In all of these situations, the dog will not behave in its normal way. Thus, we cannot draw conclusions from behavior in such situations.
Note that every dog of course features multiple play styles, one at a time. The 'richer' your dog is (in terms of play styles), the more FUN your dog will have - regardless of the situation and environment (ie the less bored the dog is in general)!
A LOT is down to comprehensive socialization as a puppy, as shown in the Puppy Development Guide - Puppy 101. The other major factor is the dog's genetic heritage, because the basic predisposition for play styles is inherited (but we can shape it, that's why we first need this Periodical).
I am not aware of any such studies, but common sense suggests that dogs that can adopt all play styles obviously have more FUN than dogs that can only adopt one or two play styles (flexibility pays off, always, for dogs too).
And the dogs that have more FUN are healthier and live longer. Another reason why comprehensive socialization as a puppy is sooo important.
The more you play with your dog, the more FUN you have with your dog. The more FUN you have with your dog, the better your relationship with your dog. The better your relationship with your dog, the less likely that (s)he will ever end up in a shelter (say when you move house, or when you join a new sports club).
Are dog play styles used among dogs equivalent to dog play styles when dogs play with us? Not necessarily, but to keep the Periodicals now shorter, we may here assume they are. Should I ever find the time to publish a book on this, I'll show the differences and more detail.
Now, what are the most prevalent German Shepherd Dog Play Styles?
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