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My New Dog Dominates My Other Dogs During Play Time

QUESTION: I recently rescued a 10 month old female Pitt. She has been isolated from other dogs for several months and is not well socialized.  Every day we have playtime for my two dog and the new puppy. We play with tennis balls and Frisbee's. She growls when she plays. She will drop her own ball to go after the ball I tossed for another dog. That dog stops and lets her have it. The same thing happens with the Frisbee's. I fell that she is trying to play, but doesn't know the boundaries. I'm not sure how to teach her to only chase the toys I throw for her.

ANSWER.  Having "recently" rescued the Pitt, combined with the fact that she is less than a year old, I'd like to think that this is JUST a temporary problem that a little training will be able to cure.

You MUST set rules and boundaries RIGHT AWAY. If she has not been taught basic obedience commands you will need to do these first before you try to introduce her to a structured play session with other dogs. That is not to say she can't romp around with them, after all, play time is part of the socializing process. 

Once you are sure she knows "sit", "stay", "come", "no", and maybe also "leave it" the best way to keep her from chasing after all of the other dog's toys during structured play is to start by putting her on a leash and make her "sit and stay" when its not her turn. The command "'her name' - Sit-Stay" should do it. Some others use "NEME - Leave it" ... Once your pitt understands that you are telling her not chase all toys, she should be able to play with the other dogs off leash and you should be able to control her with a simple verbal command. 

Remember, when training ANY behavior, it is critical that you work "one-on-one" until they understand. When working with this ball issue, you can teach her by throwing one ball, and when she has it in her mouth, throw a second and tell her "no" or "leave it". 


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