Virginia Simpson and Chance

Ask The Trainer

Dogs Play Rough


I have a 3 year old female 1/2 lab 1/2 boxer and a 7 month old male lab. They play very rough indoors and run around like they are crazy. Sometimes this goes on 3 0r 4 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes. How can I get them to stop when I want them to?     ~ Jen



Hi Jen,

Thank you for your inquiry on Cincinnati Dog Pages!

Short term fix - A quick and easy way to stop the play before it gets too escalated would be to have a couple water bottles around set to direct stream, not mist. Put one in each room they play in. (Home Depot has the best ones and only 99 cents) When they start to get escalated, but before they’ve gone crazy, give them each a little squirt somewhere on their bodies and quietly and calmly tell them to settle down. Present the frame of mind or state of being you are looking for. If we raise our voices or try and grab at them, it only adds to stimulation. A lot of people have had success with shaking some pennies in the can, but I personally feel that adds to the stimulation as well. Definitely adds to my stimulation! When you spray them and they stop and look at you, cheerfully but calmly tell them “good settle” and then direct them outside to play or better yet, take them for a walk to release the excess energy they are feeling.

Long term fix - Dogs that are not able to keep themselves calm inside the house are displaying a need for two things: a proper amount of daily exercise and obedience training to teach self-control. Self-control, or impulse-control, is what is required to behave appropriately in any given situation. Teach your dogs to hold long stays, down-stays, sit-stays or place commands. Long stays are 20 minutes or longer. Or a few quick 5 minute stays to hit the reset button to bring back positive behaviors. However, think how difficult it is to sit still when you have a ton of energy! The proper amount of daily exercise is a an important component in the quest for happy, healthy and balanced dogs.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for contacting Unleashed Canine Obedience through the Cincinnati Dog Pages!

For more information, please feel free to contact:

Virginia L. Simpson, CDT
Unleashed Canine Obedience, LLC
4955 Creek Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242