Do you have more than one dog and can’t seem to find a way to play with one because another likes to dominate the playtime? That’s how it is in our house and for over 3 years, it has been driving us crazy!
Dakota is a ball hog but becomes very submissive during playtime because every time she has the ball, Cheyenne has to hump her. Now, don’t get me wrong – I totally understand that this is not aggressive at all and it is just the canine hierarchy and an over-energized pup. Honestly, Dakota will not let another dog hump her – only her sister. And the love is both ways – Cheyenne will hump no other dog except Dakota and *only* during play.
The problem is that Dakota doesn’t get as much exercise as she should because of Cheyenne’s dominance during playtime in our house and out as well. It hurts Dakota’s hips to have the weight of her sister on them so she will usually grab the ball then lean her rear end towards a wall so Cheyenne can’t get on her back. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work.
I had enough of this – Dakota deserves to play without such nuisances and without risk to her hips. So, I put my feelings of possibly being a “bad doggy mommy” and began crating Cheyenne to get some one-on-one play time with Dakota. Heck, my big girl must be allowed to have an outlet for all that Labbie energy!
So, I played with them both at first – letting Cheyenne get the ball mostly to tire her a good deal. Then I crated her and while she barked her every-living head off, I played with Dakota – just “mano y paw”.
After 10 minutes of Dakota running up and down our hallway for the squeaky ball (and Cheyenne spending all that time barking while I ignored her), Dakota was out of breath and happy as a Lab in mud. She was more attentive during play and I was even able to sneak in a little training while she lay the ball at my feet and begged for more with the smile only a Lab can give. All without her dominating little sister clinging to her back and making play more pain than pleasure.
Did I feel bad about leaving Cheyenne in the crate? The human part of me did originally but then I realized how important it is to maintain a one-on-one bond with any and all dogs in a household. That and the a smiley out-of-breath Dakota were well worth the ringing in my ears.