In the fluid dance we call play, dogs leap, spin, chase, pounce, and wrestle together. Their interactions range from joyful romps based in camaraderie and fun, to cautious “discussions” born of over-arousal and tension, and sometimes even to skirmishes that can result in bodily harm. If we are to make accurate behavioral assessments and keep dogs safe psychologically and physically, we must understand play’s subtle dynamics. Through entertaining lecture and extensive video footage, we will explore the nuances of dog-dog play. Viewing slow motion playback will reveal split-second body language, signals, and maneuvers that would otherwise be missed, and will improve your skills when watching dogs interact in real time. Even if you are an experienced trainer or owner, you’ll be amazed at how much is revealed. One thing is certain: you’ll never look at dog-dog play in the same way again.
*What constitutes safe play
*Whether actions like mounting are problematic or not
*What the latest studies reveal about gender play preferences, role reversals, and self-handicapping
*What canine physical features may confuse other dogs and hamper communication
*Which danger signals should not be ignored
*When a play bow means something other than, "Let’s play!"
*How and why redirected aggression occurs
*How play can sometimes be a displacement behavior
*Which situations warrant intervention and how to do so safely
*…and lots more!