Rough Housing

Puppies play rough.  I’m not talking about Pitbull puppies specifically, just puppies in general.  When they are still with their litter, they learn certain boundaries of play like when to back off and when to continue with the help of little yelps and other body language signals.  After being separated from the litter, continuing with the yelps helps the puppy know and learn new boundaries with their new human pack.  While I find this continued training to be slow going, I am also finding it to be successful.  When Ray was much smaller, and his teeth were like the jagged metal blade of a table saw, his bites were pretty potent and we made sure to keep lots of chew toys handy.  Now, the biting/gnawing is becoming infrequent and much softer allowing for a nice healing period for my hands and feet.  I can tell when he’s getting tired because that is in direct proportion to the pressure and frequency of the nips he administered.  Last night I actually said to him, “You’re getting cranky, it’s time for night-night.”  Upon hearing that, he ran to his crate door and waited for his three sugar snap peas.  (Bedtime snack.)
Sometimes it’s more difficult to tell, though, when play becomes too rough.  This weekend we had friends and neighbors over to enjoy some libations on St. Paddy’s Day.  It’s funny because all three of us couples had no dogs about six months ago and now we all have puppies.  One person brought her 8 year old chihuahua for a short time and the neighbors brought their mini American Eskimo who is nine weeks old and had met Ray only one other time with little success. 
Coby at 6 weeks
Coby was only home for a day when he me Ray with the big bruiser paws and had already decided that Ray was not going to be his kind of dog. Three weeks later, though, the little pouf was much more outgoing and ready to play. 
As sometimes happens, play got exciting and Coby’s mom picked him up to calm down.  No one yelped, no one seemed to want to get away from anyone else, but still a couple of bite marks on a snout (muzzle?) resulted in some blood.  I’m sure you can guess where this is headed…

Your pouf bit my Pitbull

…or maybe not.  All in all, no one was harmed and I didn’t even know Ray had gotten scraped by the baby teeth until a bit later.  From the looks of it, Coby got a nice grab on both the top and side of Ray’s muzzle, but like I said, there was no yelping etc, so no signs of harm.  Coby’s mom was all worried that Ray was hurt, but after all, it takes quite a bit to harm the anvil-head.

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