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Aggressive Play
Play is one of my favorite subjects and I could go off in all directions with it in seemingly random ways. But that's the beauty of play. The two favorite ways dogs love to play are chasing and mock-fighting. Developing hunting skills is the primary goal of the former, and the latter serves to develop social skills and to strenghten social ties between individuals. Through play, appropriate as well as inappropriate social behaviors are learned. It really depends on how the dogs play partners may or may not guide the interactions. Play allows animals to learn about other individuals and to sort out/advance the relationships they have with these other individuals. For most dogs, the more physical the play is, the more they love it and the more wound up they get, or in some cases... the more they unwind. To some this can mean an out of control dog. For others, particularly those that have good relationships with play partners, the process, all in the context of play, can lead to profound levels of relaxation. When animals get out of control in the midst of play or have not learned to inhibit the use of their mouths or claws to an appropriate degree, you have Play Aggression. If it hurts you then it is too rough, not inhibited enough, or too aggressive. This is a readily treatable problem. The most effective solutions are inherently tied to the details surrounding the development of the problem, and information relating to the relationship(s) that have developed between the dog/cat and the individual target(s) of that aggression.