Play Styles

Each of the dogs has a favorite way to play.

Raven likes to wrestle or play ‘bitey face’ with Seelie. She used to play with Gryphon a lot, but since Seelie came along she focuses on him. One of her favorite seasonal games it to have a shovel full of snow dumped on her head. She loves chasing tennis balls, but she doesn’t get to run flat out after them anymore… she’s got bad knees and elbows, so when I throw for her it’s short tosses only.

Gryphon plays bitey face with Seelie too; they have a great time together. They’ll chase through the house, through the yard, running flat out, dodging over and between logs, with bright-eyed, joyful expressions. Gryph enjoys chasing balls, but some of his favorite games involve dancing around toys, darting in and out while barking at them. He’ll stop and look at me, I’ll scoot them over with my foot, and he’ll ramp it up a notch. Never fails to make me laugh.

Seelie absolutely loves for other dogs to chase him; unfortunately he’s usually the one doing the chasing at home. I have mixed feelings about dog parks, but I do bring him to the one in town occasionally so he can be chased to his heart’s content. The funniest times are when he’s sprinting flat out, a manic grin on his face, with a small dog chasing him, little legs scrabbling as quickly as they can, furiously barking in frustration.

Merlin still doesn’t play with the other dogs. About a month ago, I wrote about the first time I saw him playing chase with Seelie; I haven’t seen that happen since. Merlin would play frisbee 24/7 if he could. He’ll bring one of the small, soft discs I have for throwing in the house (too dangerous outside with the snow and ice), and look at me hopefully, ears up, eyes wide. The second I make a move toward the frisbee lying on the ground, his front end drops into a crouch and he stares at the frisbee, pupils dilating in anticipation.

I’m really looking forward to the snow finally melting so we can have some real throwing sessions in the yard. Before the snow started, I’d throw for Seelie and Merlin; they quickly learned to take turns. I’d toss a ball short distances for Raven at the same time, and Gryphon would dance around me, barking with excitement. I’d toss a ball for him, and he’d prance around with it in his mouth, happy to play keep away.

After this long snowy winter, that particular chaos sounds like heaven!

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18 thoughts on “Play Styles

  1. Our dog likes to play tug of war with her rope and chases a tennis ball. Until one day I brought home a rope knotted through a ball. This has become her favorite toy that we laughingly call rope ball. We were playing tug of war with it the other day. She let go while I was pulling and I whacked myself in the face with it. lol We also made up a game called butt touch. My hubby, daughter and I will run up and smack each other on the butt, yell butt touch (the dog included) then we run though the house. Now that I type it out it sounds stupid. lol But we have fun playing.

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    • I think Merlin might have been happier as an only dog. He does follow Seelie’s lead, though, so it’s hard to say. Lots of dogs are great having their families to themselves. 🙂

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  2. I love how the last paraphrase gives me a sense of how this all works together l. With four dogs, you sure stay busy! Your keen observations show how you’ve made them each feel special and loved.

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  3. How fun that you have four dogs to play with. We now have two. An older lab, who is eleven years old, and a puppy who is eleven weeks old. I am excited for the snow to melt too.
    Thank you for sharing your dogs personalities.

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  4. You wouldn’t think animals have different personalities and ways of playing until you watch them. I know that each of our cats has his/her own purrsonality. Each has a favorite toy and a way of playing.

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  5. Such good noticing in how each of the dogs likes to play. Makes me wonder if I could see the differences in how my students like to joke. My own dog loves to be chased. She will grab a sock and give us a look over her shoulder… so cute those dogs.

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