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Do you notice your puppy biting your older dog’s face, cheek, scruff, and neck while making growly noises, showing teeth and in general making the most menacing looks and sounds a dog can muster? Do your ever watch this situation and wonder why does my puppy bite my oder dog’s face?
To the untrained eye it sometimes looks like a dog fight, but make no mistake these two (Raven and Archer in the pic above) are having the time of their lives. We like to call this game Bitey Face and it can be played anyplace at anytime (not just in a doggy bed made for one).
So what exactly is Bitey Face?
How To Play Bitey Face
You’ll notice your puppies will engage in this game on their own and generally follow the rules in the list below…
- You need at least two dogs/puppies to play this game.
- Rough play is the norm.
- Grabbing cheeks, necks, scruff, faces is all part of the game.
- Growling noises while showing teeth is commonplace.
- The game of Bitey Face looks and sounds very scary, but most of the time it’s harmless play.
- Remember, a game of Bitey Face can escalate so you always want to keep an eye on the players.
Does this sound like the same game you mentioned when you were wondering why your puppy bites your older dog’s face?
Being a puppy Archer doesn’t have the best social skills and he tries to engage the other dogs in our house in games of Bitey Face. Here are the reactions of my other three dogs:
Linus vs Archer
Linus will play the game, but he has his limits and you can see as well as hear his mood change when he’s done playing. Archer will test Linus’ limits, but it’s sometimes wiser for the humans to get involved. Make sure you (the human) break up play if you see a change in either dog’s mood.
Stetson vs Archer
Archer will try to engage Stetson in a game of Bitey Face, but to no avail. Stetson simply runs away or ignores Archer till he stops bothering him. (see just like in crate training, ignoring your puppy’s unwanted behavior actually works!)
Raven vs Archer
While Linus has his limits and Stetson calls “no joy” Raven will indulge Archer for a full 12 rounds of Bitey Face. They will go head to head like a bout between Ali and Foreman. It’s the Rumble In The Jungle Baby!
How Are Humans Involved in A Game of Bitey Face
If your dogs engage in Bitey Face it’s usually harmless, but you still want to keep an eye on your dogs to make sure a real fight doesn’t break out. Here are a few things to keep watch for:
Watch your dog’s body language. You might want to break things up if:
- Either dog looks tense, moving stiffly or staring.
- Dog’s ears, mouths, tongues are not in a relaxed position.
- One dog appears to be trying to get away from the other dog.
- One dog is always on the top of the doggy pile.
Rough play will sometimes go on for too long and one of the combatants can get overstimulated or aggravated with the other.
Not all dogs enjoy playing bitey face. Always keep a close eye on your dog anytime he plays with other dogs. If he’s playing bitey face make sure to break up play every once in a while to give the dogs a break.
One thing we’ve done with our dogs when they become overstimulated during a game of bitey face is give them both a chew toy or treat to allow them to relax and have a little timeout. One of our favorites that will occupy our dogs for a long period of time are bully sticks (affiliate link).
How about your dogs? Does your puppy grab your older dog’s face, neck, and cheek? Do your puppies enjoy a good game of Bitey Face? Tell us a little about the doggy games your furry friends like to play in the comment section below.