I am asked about play all of the time – ‘how do you play with these new puppies?’
We do not play with them at all, just like we don’t play with our newborn goat kids. Goats can get wildly inappropriate with people if they are teased, played with, or allowed to chase people in fun when they are kids. Dogs are no different.
With another species, especially when they are in the first part of their life with their mama, if another species interacts it needs to be trustworthy, comforting, and safe. Every time our puppies see us, we love them up, pet them, talk to them, sit down and let them crawl around us, so they learn how to act around humans, and really for humans to learn how to act appropriately with puppies.
We do not purposefully arouse them, tease them, tickle them, or behave in a way that would make them inappropriate with human interactions.
Do I ever play with puppies? Yes, yes I do. When they are between 8-10 weeks of age, I start play with a purpose training. It is never about rough housing, it is never about manhandling, it is play that has a purpose.