Friday, January 25, 2013

Dog play Zen

Each time I've brought Star over to work her magic with her cousin Genghis, my sister and I sit watching in stupefaction over the things that the two of them apparently find enjoyable. 

For both of them, repeated biting of each others' necks appears to be a favorite pastime.  Genghis also loves taking Star's legs in his mouth, and they both love flipping over on their backs with their mouths open, gnashing their teeth in each others' general direction.

All this goes on in near-complete silence. There's the occasional growl, gurgle, or snap, but most of the time they're totally quiet. 

There's a feeling of total engagement, complete camaraderie, almost what you would call calmness. A kind of doggie Zen, where the two are completely on the same wavelength.

Until recently, I never saw this kind of play with Star and Fozzie. They've always gotten along pretty well together, but their play has had a different kind of intensity, with more running, more tugging, more loud vocal yodeling and arguing.

I thought that Fozzie was just like most normal dogs, in that he didn't really enjoy having his neck continually bitten and so couldn't get into a play session with Star. 

Then I let them into the guest bedroom together. With a cushy, Queen-sized bed all to themselves, and away from under Lamar's judgmental eye, they hit a new groove and had one of those Zenlike play sessions. 

No growlies, no snappies, just mutually enjoyable biting, chewing, wrestling, and a bit of humping. 

Not once did I feel they were on the verge of getting out of hand; they just went at it for a while then stopped when they were tired. 
I was happy to see that they had that capacity! Star and Genghis seem always to be in the mood for the same kind of play, but it was nice to see Star and Fozzie able to get into that groove too. 

It doesn't surprise me that Fozzie is not always up for the kind of rough play Star loves, as I think of Fozzie as a very complex dog. (I hope my sister isn't reading this. But if you are, yes, I know Genghis is a very complex dog. Maybe Star just brings out the big goof in him).

Do your dogs have different play styles? Have you noticed that some are incompatible because of these differences, and just need to find the right playmates?


  1. Hey Fozzie!! You have a dog on your back!!

    -Bart and Ruby

  2. Great pictures! Pauley & Star appear to have the same type of play style. We have had several fosters that he was not allowed to play with as he scared them. As much as Jaylynn loved cuddling with him, she was in no way interested in his mad playing skills. Katie & Paige would play bitey face/neck for hours.

  3. I bet Star's time with Genghis has given her the tools she needed to start enjoying that special play time with Fozzie!

  4. I love the concept of play zen. Misty the alpha Poodle won't allow any biting to go on in her domain. I think the other dogs might like a little puppy play, but she has spoken.

  5. Hi Y'all!

    Hey, I play with anybody who comes to visit me...but I like to run and chase!

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  6. How cute! It's called wrestling silly. We do that too. Mom laughs. What a bond
    Benny & Lily

  7. Absolutely yes. I find dogs very picky about their playmates. Georgia's play style used to unnerve a lot of dogs at the park, I suppose what some behaviourists might call inappropriate. But the dogs got used to it, and more, some of them got into the groove too, even the littlies LOL. Now, they give as good or worse than they get and she often comes home with holes in her neck. All good, as long a they're having fun. I've noticed her play behaviour has also changed over time, and she uses different "techniques" with different dogs. For littlies, she does what you've talked about here. She's often on her belly or back. With the big ones, full on full speed bumping and wrestling. She also likes being chased more than chasing. Have I mentioned she changes playmates like knickers? I'm afraid Georgia's past is littered with former best friends. Poor Larry, for example. These days, he begs and begs, but she won't give even him a sniff :)

  8. That's so great that Star has some play's obviously something she really enjoys:) Kaya and Norman make tons of snorty exhale noises when they play. Their go to move to get the other one interested is to grab a leg...haha. I had to teach Kaya not to dominate when she was younger but now they're a great match. Kaya loves to get Norman to chase her also and they stalk each other too. It's really funny to watch.

  9. Star and Genghis play like I'd describe how Hades and Braylon play! Although I would say after their scuffle sometimes they act a little more serious but nothing ever gets out of hand. Actually I think I just watch them with more paranoia, which I need to let go of!
    When we got Taylor her and Hades weren't compatible playmates for what felt like forever. They just didn't seem to "click." They didn't go after each other, but he was so uniterested in playing with her. Than magically they were buds--her persistence is what seemed to get them to finally get along like regular playmates.

  10. Everything that you noted and photographed happens all the time at our house! It's usually blind Breeze and blind Brook with deaf Azule. Those three will bite necks and tug on legs with the occasional full barrel roll (Breeze is about twice the size of Brook now). Then Forest will run in and grab a leg. As you noted also, there is rarely a sound. Being that they are blind and deaf, they somehow just know where each other are and the time to disengage. Biting each others faces often happens when blind Hiker is in her crate and somebody leans in and makes a grab for her. It's so much fun to watch! (guests get a bit scared because it looks rough)

  11. My dogs wrestle like that, Sampson is the vocal one while Delilah rarely makes a peep. Seems so out of character for her! LOL Truthfully I could sit and watch them play forever, but they only go at it for short bursts and then they're done.

  12. My sister plays with my brother Owen. Sometimes Owen goes a little "nutso" and has a fit with my other brother. And then mom and dad end up taking one or both to the vet for battle damage.


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