Dogs Playing Too Rough

by Lynette Edmondsen
(Niles, Michigan)

Reader Question: How Do I Stop My Dogs From Playing Too Rough?

I have a Lab Jack Russell mix, but this dog although the size of a lab is all JR. Remi is a huge 5 month old that has taken to pestering the Chihuahua to a point of terror. It is clear that she loves the Chihuahua and wants to play but because of her size, playing is not fun for the Chihuahua. Remi is also teething and flesh is her chew toy of choice. She is a beautiful girl but a handful.

The Chihuahua is use to a large dog and prefers the larger or the smaller but Remi does not give her a brake. We are currently using the cage method and because of the high snow, outside activity has been difficult. Any suggestions. I know she is smart, she learned her name in 2 days.

Lynette Edmondsen

Vet's Response To Reader's Question About How To Stop Canines From Horse-playing

Hi Lynette,

Inappropriate play behavior is a common problem with puppies, and to save both you and your Chihuahua’s sanity, it needs to be dealt with. Using the crate is an excellent idea. It gives your Chihuahua a much needed break and Remi a safe “den” to turn to when she gets stressed. Here are a couple of tricks you can try when Remi is not crated. She should always be in the crate unless you or another responsible adult can be with her until she is fully trained.

• Teach Remi that sitting is the only way to get what she wants. If she wants to eat, play, receive affection… anything, she has to sit first. This helps prevent a wide range of unacceptable behaviors.
• Tether Remi to you by attaching her leash to a belt loop, around your waist, etc. In this way, you are ALWAYS with her to praise or correct her behavior.

For example, if she is calmly following you around while you tidy the house, take a moment to say “good girl” and give her a treat (once she sits, of course). If she lunges towards your Chihuahua, you are right there to say “no” in a firm voice and lead her away.

If none of this works for you, talk to a veterinarian experienced in the treatment of canine behavioral problems.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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