Brut and Silver challenging.
(last year photo. I wish we had this much snow!)
I play fight with my dogs and Brut is no different. It is what dogs do with other dogs. I did it for that sole purpose. It is part of playtime. As Brut got older and his aggressions with other dogs became apparent, it didn't stop me from playing rough with him. Then I heard experts state that you shouldn't play fight, play tug-of-war or wrestle with an aggressive dog. That didn't stop me either. Granted Brut's reactions were not towards me, but he did assert himself with strong dominance.
I understand the need to express anger and frustration and to do so constructively. I have my own boxing bag and gloves. It made perfect sense to me that Brut needed that type of outlet as well. So I gave him myself. Together we fought out our frustrations and anger by challenging and trying to outsmart each other. Since neither of us were out to hurt the other on purpose, we were able to vent and learn from each other.
Since Brut wasn't socialized with his litter mates, where he should have learned about bite inhibitions, he began to learn with me. He knew nothing about what was proper and OK when it came to his mouth. When he bit too hard, I yelled and then I would stop all movement. When I stopped he let go. He eventually learned when his bite was too hard and it became softer. If he really started to get out of control, like jumping at my face, all play stopped immediately. He associated no movement with no play.
Teaching him about bite inhibitions were not part of my strategy when I would fight with him. In fact, I knew nothing of bite control or the fact that he was suppose to have learnt this from his mother and litter mates. I just knew he bit too hard. I knew nothing about how dogs challenged each other for dominance, another lesson we both learned by play fighting. No books, training, or knowledge of dog behavior, we simply played like dogs and it taught us both what we needed to learn. Our play was from the heart and everything else worked itself out.
Sometimes too much knowledge hinders the natural order of things.