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Archie spoodle dog & Zizi show 3 levels of social play in our yard. VIDEO

zizi archie dogs

This article and video is far more than meets the eye. For people who know what a truly social dog is, the video will be no surprise. My dog in this video, is a six year old dominant spoodle, however with his daily walks he knows how to get what he wants from a situation without aggression.

This video shows three stages of him playing with a young challenging puppy. Dog play is all about sorting out pack hierarchy, and although the puppy is just testing its skills, it is still attempting to win a higher pack position, which my dog will not relinquish.

The challenge for my dog is to play appropriately at a puppy level, but still teach the puppy a lesson that he is more dominant (and higher in the pack) than it is, without resorting to aggression.

This new black puppy shows quite a few signs of being dominant too, and that is fine, however the lessons it is learning is that it needs to know when to assert itself, challenge for dominance, and know when to retreat. If a dominant dog tries to assert itself too much with a non social dog, that is when aggression leads to real dog fighting. That is why this is such a valuable lesson.

This video starts in our sunroom with the black puppy climbing all over Archie. They are ‘bear hugging’ trying to show each other which is stronger. This kind of play in this safe environment would go on for over ten minutes at a time. Good exercise for my dog, and good lessons for Zizi.

The second section of the video shows some initial outdoors play, essentially a continuation of the indoors, however Archie is puppy mouthing the puppies ears to try and control it, and the puppy is also challenging back, mouthing his mouth. Still very social play by both dogs.

The third stages is as far an escalation at this kind of ‘puppy training’ gets with a social dog. The puppy has learned that it is not physically superior to the older and larger dog and it now chooses to run and be chased. Often a superior dog (or at least faster dog) likes to show superiority (and some kind of dominance by outrunning dogs). This of course does not mean that a faster dog is more superior than any other dog in the pack, but it makes the dog feel more secure.

As you will see from the chases, the puppy enjoys being chased, and showing how skilful it is in weaving in and out of the obstacles. My dog begins barking at Zizi when the puppy stops. This is a mixture of excitement and also showing the puppy that he is in control of the situation. My dog wants him to play, and knows that he is being dominated at the same time.

Once a dominant puppy accepts its lower role in an enclosed situation such as this, the better it is for all dogs.  This form of challenging play was much more pronounced at the start of Zizi’s play at our house (in my dog’s territory) than on the second and subsequent days.

Zizi was never in any harm, and as you can see, she enjoyed the chance to be the superior dog or at least challenge for it. The fact that my dog was so patient on his territory and could be bothered putting the training in, rather than go for a more aggressive dominance immediately is testament to his social nature. The fact that Zizi the puppy didn’t force the issue too much (get aggressive to get around her less physical skills) is testament to her level of socialisation.

This was truly a fun stay at our house that both dogs enjoyed.

This is how social play should be, fun for both dogs – and no stress for the owners!

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link to

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