Archie dogs shows how to redirect energy, pray and generally act cute in play

archie spoodle dog on back playingThis is the relaxed side of my dog Archie. The fun side after he has done all his large runs and tracking walks. If you see any traits that you recognise from a cocker spaniel or a poodle, that would be because both dogs are in his ancestry.

But this video is much more than that. In a few simple minutes you can see some strategies that he has worked out to maximise his pleasure, and extract maximum treats.

Archie Dog Video, playing having fun

The first part of the video is essentially close ups of his head and mouth as he rolls around on his back getting chest rubs. It is funny how non dog people may find this sight scary or awesome without realising the intent behind it. Like many dogs, Archie is very tactile and really appreciates a rub. But more than that he is a "face scrubber", meaning that he has the potential to have high skin allergy reactions, so pretty much all the time he really enjoys being rubbed to alleviate itches.

His mouth open in 'little red riding hood' style is just basically a sign of ecstasy on getting a good body massage. But at the same time he is suppressing his puppy urges to puppy mouth the hand that is patting him. The spoodles are a playful lot, and if you have a playful and dominant dog, they are going to have to work very hard at just lying back and enjoying the rub, without biting as their excitement levels rise. Though that said,with their soft retriever jaws they are very unlikely to draw blood as an adult.

And that is precisely where the second part of this video comes into play, or more precisely the part of the video that is called 'More Play'.

In this section you will see Archie doing several tactical things in his play. One is his enjoyment of showing his teeth, the other one is his praying motion.

This dog praying motion is said to be more typical of the poodle breed, and essentially is an expression of his high excitement. When he meets people or dogs in the street that he is very excited to see, he will rear up on his hind legs and pray to them, straining fully against the leash. People usually see this as cute, and beckon him over for a pat, thus providing positive reinforcement for him to do it again. Amazingly this is hard-wired into his brain from birth, as many poodle perform the exact same motion without being taught.

The other thing you will see during the play time is him licking and chewing on his left arm and paw. This was a behaviour that we accidently instilled in him as a puppy. With sharp teeth and a desire to chew and relieve the pain of growing teeth, Archie would often latch onto our hands or arms as we patted him, causing some measure of pain. In an attempt to stop this we verbally admonished him, but rather than stopping he self directed his attention to chewing on his own arm. I find this an intelligent and amazing skill of adaptability that several dogs have self learnt.

The final part of this video is shot outdoors, again with him lolling around on his back. Though this time I figured he has earned the reward for not biting me, and allowing me to take video of him, so I decided to feed him some blackdog beef liver treats (which I coincidently sell on this site).

You will notice that when I don't feed him enough, he uses his praying motion to entice me to feed him more, and invariably for me and strangers this works out well for him.

I guess this video is about being cute and the intelligent adaptability of dogs to fit into our society and get their way at the same time.

Of course treats need to be given in moderation (unless used as a meal supplement or short term meal replacement). In my dogs case he does so many walks per week, and has to deal with so many levels of social and unsocial dogs, that his brain and body are almost always working at a high level when we go out.

This high burning of energy means that he can often have more treats than many dogs would, especially in winter when dogs are able to elevate their body temperature much better than humans to ward off the cold. However running a body at an elevated temperature requires more food to create the heat that keeps them warm, hence dogs can often increase food intake in winter and remain the same size.

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please use a LINK reference to

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