It's that time of year again, when it seems everyone is getting a new puppy, and its definitely something I look forwards to! Seeing all these tiny, clumsy pups with oversized ears and feet, and undersized everything else makes me wish, once again, that I could have another puppy. There's nothing like that fresh puppy smell, watching them learn about new things, watching them grow into a confident and assured dog; not many things can compare.

What I love most about meeting new puppies, though, is seeing Hazel and Bramble's reactions. After having her own pups, Hazel is far less tolerant. She isn't unkind, by any means, but if a puppy is hanging off her ears or getting too boisterous she will tell them off, like a mother would.

Bramble, on the other hand, is a complete kid, herself. She adores puppies, and will play for hours, I think she likes the fact that they are never usually much bigger than her, and so full of energy, to match her personality. She plays rough with the rough pups, but is so gentle with the more timid and smaller ones.

Yesterday, we met the tiniest toy poodle puppy on a walk, who was very outgoing- obviously it was unbeknown to her that she was smaller than a packet of crisps! Hazel, instead of getting cross and moving far out of the puppy's reach, stopped and very gently sniffed the puppy, allowing it to jump up at her face. Bramble played with the puppy, but only ever-so-gently; she knew this pup was more fragile. They both yapped at eachother, and showed lots of play bows, but more than that, they both showed 'feeding' behaviours. This included a bit of stalking, pouncing and a little bit of short-distance chasing (the poodle only had tiny legs!). It was adorable to watch!

Later on, we met a sighthound x GSD puppy, the same age as the poodle pup, but even bigger than both Hazel and Bramble. The girls, again, were friendly, but Hazel wasn't so reluctant to tell this puppy off when he became too excited, and Bramble was happy to match the pup's playfuness as they zoomed around, bowling eachother over! In this instance, Bramble catered to the sighthound nature of this pup, showing the 'fleeing' behaviour when she played.

And then there was a little staffie puppy that we met, who was the most exciteable. Hazel had very little tolerance for this puppy; the minute his teeth clamped round her tail, that was it! She told him off and left, positioning herself a fair distance away, so she was away from the action, but could keep an eye on things.

Bramble, being more socialable, recognised this play 'fight' behaviour in the puppy, and soon they were wrestling, all teeth and tails!

It just goes to show, all puppies prefer different methods of play, dependent on their breed and characteristics. But, similarly, dogs like Hazel find different methods of play more and less agitating, or even threatening. For play to stay fun, it should be in moderation, and it is always beneficial to know what kind of play your dog likes most. Hazel, she prefers 'feeding' when it comes to playing, Bramble, she's a jack-of-all-trades!

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