Puppies play/fight - should I leave them alone or together?
(Los Angeles, CA)
I have two 10 week old puppies (brother and sister, same litter), is it okay to leave them alone together while I'm at work or separate them?
They play/fight with each other and the female seems more dominant than the male and bites him more to where she hurts him.
It's very normal for puppies to play-fight, it's how they work out the pecking order in the litter, and usually one is more dominant than the other.
However, they shouldn't actually hurt each other, usually there's a lot of squealing and crying, but no damage is done. It's also how puppies learn bite-inhibition (ie how hard they can bite without causing injury or getting hurt themselves), and plays an important role in learning canine social interaction.
Generally there's no need to separate puppies who are of a similar size and age, especially siblings who are used to being together.
But, if the more submissive puppy is actually getting hurt (the skin is broken, or he seems genuinely scared or upset for more than two seconds) then you may need to separate them when you're not there to supervise their play.
Only you can really tell whether or not this is necessary, but if you're in doubt it wouldn't hurt to keep them apart if you're going to be gone for long. Do supervise them when you are home though and correct the female if she is totally overbearing with the male.
Usually this type of behavior sorts itself out without too much input from the owners though, so use your own judgement here.
Hope this helps a bit, best of luck with your puppies.
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