The Considerate Canine: Rough Play
The Problem: I'mt trying to train a 5 month old English Bulldog puppy not to bite his Bulldog Mama. They play so rough and he makes her chin bleed. I can't get them to stop playing until they are ready to stop. - Veronica Smith Schwartz
In the best of all worlds, Mom would have taught baby boy to have a gentle mouth when he was younger. Now it appears that the task of teaching a soft mouth and impulse control falls to you.
It is tempting, when there are two dogs, to use one dog as the baby sitter for the other. I would limit the amount of time the puppy has uninterrupted time with Mom. Dogs that have constant access to another dog frequently become too attached, to the detriment of your relationship with the pup. I would suggest spending some one on one time with the pup. You could use that time for fun training activities, going for a walk, or playing.
As far as over the top playing, you need to monitor all interactions between them. Give the pup frequent breaks from play, long before play time turns into a free for all. It is easy to let things go way too long before intervening. If you can’t interrupt them, you are waiting too long. In some cases, you may have to interrupt every few seconds for a while. The reward for calming down is a return to play, provided Mom is interested.
If he immediately goes back to extremely rough play the minute you let him return, you might need to give him a time out.
This is a great time to teach name recognition and a rock solid recall. When your little guy starts to play, call him to you, reward him with a tiny treat and let him return to play. By doing this in tiny steps, he is learning to check in with you, come when called and respond to his name. It is also allowing him a few seconds, or minutes, to calm down before returning to a rousing game with Mom.
Good luck and happy training.
Cindy Carter, CPDt-KA
Mindful Manners Dog Training