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Is My Puppy Play Normal?

Updated: 3 days ago

Normal puppy play includes all the behaviors a dog may do as an adult. Think of puppy play as practice for grown up life. 

Sometimes a puppy may play in a way that makes us wonder if it’s aggression or “dominance.” We created a great resource for accurate information about dog play. Click here to read


The best way to determine if the behavior is ok is to ask the other dog by doing a consent test. Quietly and softly remove your puppy from play by pulling him or her back a foot from the other dog. Slowly count to three and observe the other dog. Click here for a video of a consent test.

With a consent test, the other dog will decide if the play was ok. If the other dog reengages, the play was good. If the other dog moves away, s/he needs a break from the puppy. 

Puppies require a lot of sleep. If your puppy appears to be in a frenzied state, start by allowing a good, long nap. Being overtired can make a puppy seem over-the-top because they don’t yet know how to calm themselves.  The next thing that may cause some puppy crazies is being hungry. Give a little snack to take the edge off if needed between feeding times.


Some believe that mounthing by any dog is a dominance related behavior, and the behavior should not be allowed. The original dominance and hierarchy information has been debunked by person who first published it. Unfortunately, the media ran with this for several years and it was included by some popular TV trainers. For more information about this click here. While mounting is normal play behavior for many dogs, other dogs may not like it. We time-out mounting behavior so that it does not continue as part of the play repertoire. We do this by doing a consent test, which functions as a mini time out!

When in doubt about any dog play, consent test!

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