ISSN 2398-2969      

Play (biting and growling)

icanis
Contributor(s):

Ian Dunbar

Karen Overall


Introduction

  • Play forms the basis of a large part of learning. Dogs will often employ certain behavioral strategies in play before they are required in a more serious context. The consequences of their effects during play affects their future expression.
  • This problem can be eliminated in puppyhood with bite-inhibition exercises.
  • Problem may generalize to other competitive situations.
    Print off the owner factsheetNipping and mouthing by dogs to give to your client.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Mouthing in play appears around 3 weeks of age.
  • Play fighting and snapping normally appears between 28 and 35 days of age.
  • Development of problem will depend on consequences of these early expressions.

Predisposing factors

General
  • Competitive games played such as 'tug of war' may cause problems but can be excellent way to teach release.
  • Children play with puppy too roughly.

Pathophysiology

  • Play aggression is a natural phenomenon.
  • Aggressive play will increase in frequency and persistence if it is rewarded in any way, eg by other player backing off.

Timecourse

  • Behavior usually deteriorates progressively, with aggression becoming a more frequent component of play sequences.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Landsberg G, Hunthausen W & Ackerman L (1997)Handbook of behavior problems of the dog and cat.pp 143-144.
  • Askew H (1996)Treatment of behavior problems in dogs and cats.pp 172, 176
  • Beaver B (1983)Clinical classification of canine aggression.Applied Animal Ethology10, pp 34.
  • Borchelt P L & Voith V L (1982)Classification of animal behavior problems.Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract12(4), 571-586.
  • Voith V L (1980)Play - a form of hyperactivity and aggression.Modern Veterinary PracticeJuly. pp 631.
  • Voith V L (1980)Play behavior interpreted as aggression or hyperactivity - case histories.Modern Veterinary PracticeAugust. pp 707-709.

Organisation(s)

  • Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, PO Box 46, Worcester WR8 9YS, UK. Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1386 751151; Email: apbc:petbcent.demon.co.uk; Website: http://www.apbc.co.uk.

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