How to know if my dog ​​is playing or fighting


For us humans, communication is a fundamental aspect in our lives. In the same way, it is important for pets to interact with each other. The lack of knowledge of this language leaves many owners wondering if their dog friend is in a fight or just plays. Here we show you how to identify the signals.

One of the ways of relating to our dogs is the game. For this there are several signs that you can see every time you meet a group of dogs interacting.


My dog ​​is already 6 months old. I have done wrong about the game so now he is afraid to play. Now I don't know how I have to fix it. I have not been involved in the game for 2 days and it is starting to play, making this change seems to improve but there are times that it attacks me (before the current canbio). The question that I have is if in the future he can attack me again or when he has faith in me will he forget?

Hello Amaia, at the beginning and more at such a young age many times they do not know how to differentiate when they do good or bad, when playing many times they clench with their teeth more than they should without having a clear intention to harm us. When this happens we must say a clear "no" to understand that it has hurt us, it will surely be repeated a few more times until it definitively controls the situation. Regarding what you tell us that he attacks you, you must be very firm and also say “NO” when you see that he has a dominant attitude towards you and continue playing so that he loses his fear. It is very important that you give attention to it if its behavior is not adequate until it is able to control its behavior itself and understand that it should not attack you or get into a violent attitude. Do not worry about the fear of playing, play with it for a few moments and gradually you will gain confidence and play again without problems. You can offer snacks during the game as a reward for good behavior so that you will reaffirm even more positive acts.

Physical contact

It may seem that they are hurting themselves, whether they bite, push or scratch, but none of these games seeks to hurt the other. They can lie on their backs, showing their abdomen, as a sign of play and keep moving their tail.

The games have periods of small breaks, if this does not happen and the excitement environment continues to grow, you have to take action on the matter. One of the things you should observe, when identifying if your dog is in fighting mode, is its body: is it tense and bristly?

Tension and stillness

If your furry friend wants to fight, his body will be rigid in the frontal direction of the dog that is going to attack. He usually does not move from the place and is attentive to the movements of his opponent.

Another very obvious way that a fight is on its way is the stare towards the other dog, along with grunts.


Stiff ears are another sign of fighting, as he claims CeaseMillán, the dog lover.

Practice and observation will help you easily identify when to stop the game, before it goes into a fight. Thus, you will become an expert in dog language and its behavior. Now, enjoy a good game in the park!

My dog ​​wants to play, play and play

First let's try to think or understand, that the game is paramount for our pets.

While we live most of the day online, our dogs have an offline life and need to be in contact with other canines.

Playing causes them to learn and develop social (socio-cognitive) abilities.

They will not play Captain America, Ironman or Superman, but in their own way they have fun as we did, when we were children.

Our dogs acquire very important benefits such as:

  • Evaluate your skills against those of others
  • Develop, maintain and test social relationships between themselves and others
  • Learn how to act in unexpected situations
  • Develop a sense of cooperativism, such as reciprocity, bargaining power, and finally, learn to distinguish who they can trust: dogs and humans.

Let's not forget that the game is an activity that builds emotional bonds. Playing, our dogs make friends.

The game and its movements

Observing how a dog asks another to play with him, at least 20 characteristic movements that they use to start the game have been set. These are some:

  • Hit the leg in the face
  • Rolling up belly
  • To bark
  • Watch
  • Ambush

And, the inevitable Playbow. It is the most outgoing signal to start the game: the raised ass and the front legs on the floor. Surely you've seen it in your dog. Dogs use the Playbow to ensure that their intention is the game, although sometimes we can misunderstand as aggressions by their aggressive movements: they bark, growl, show their teeth, give blows, etc.