Why play is important for dogs
Do you keep your dog indoors all the time and deprive it of playing? Well, the truth is that you’re actually not helping your dog stay happy and healthy. Canines can exhibit destructive habits like excessive chewing to pass the time when they are not allowed to play. So if you don’t want to see your dog get into trouble, you better allow it get active.
Asides the psychological benefits, play provides lots of physical and social benefits. It is an opportunity for you to allow your pup get enough physical exercise. When you include games like fetch, tug and Frisbee into their play sessions, it provides them with plenty of exercise and they become exhausted after some time. Remember the saying, “A good dog is a tired dog” There’s certainly lots of truth in that.
Without much ado, here are some reasons why play is important for dogs:
1. Play helps you get a stronger bond with your dog
Just like the bond between two friends gets stronger when they share fun moments, the bond you have with your dog becomes strengthened when you spend quality time together.
Many people think as dogs grow older, they become less interested in fun activities. Well, that’s not true even because dogs and humans play well into adulthood. And that playfulness trait is what makes the relationship between dogs and humans so special.
Research has shown that playfulness was a trait in dogs that was selected during domestication, and that’s a major factor in build emotionally-based bonds with our dogs. So if you are looking for a simple way to strengthen the bond you have with your dog, add in some play time.
2. Play is a fun way to train and improve manners
As you give your dog some play time, it’s a good chance to work on some basic trainings and manners. Right from the puppy stage, dogs learn basic manners as they play around. When they play too much, they’ll likely get a nip from their mother or littermate; or they might simply stop the play altogether.
So how do you make the play time educative? By trying interactive games that makes them listen and react. For example, you can try the tug of war game, which involves lots of fun and teaches you r dog how to control their impulses. Your pup learns how to control the use of his mouth. However, always remember that as you play with your dog, he is surely picking some social clues from you.
3. Play provides mental stimulation
You can keep your dog’s brain working efficiently when you allow it to have quality play time. Yea, when you engage them in mentally stimulating activities or brain games, it helps them become smarter. More so, mentally stimulating games help to alleviate boredom and decrease the likelihood of your dog developing behavioral issues like chewing or excessive barking.
Some good examples of brain games you can try include the puzzle toys, nose work games, stuffed kongs, and snuffle mats. These games are easy to play and they can keep your dog active, focused, and entertained throughout the whole day.
More so, dogs can practice physical skills like catchy prey and chasing that they might need for survival in the wild. When your dog practices these skills, it helps him feel secure in his ability to survive.
The fetch games work effectively to boost your dog’s agility. You can try using toys, or toss treats far into the air and watch your dog run just to catch it.
4. Play relieves boredom
When a dog is bored, it displays some undesirable behaviors like excessive barking. So maybe some of those periods your dog kept on barking, he only wanted some time to play. So even if you give it food to calm him, he could ignore and continue barking.
So you can keep your dog happy and alive by allowing it to play. When you play with him a few times in a day, it decreases the likelihood of him developing destructive habits.
You can give your dog something meaningful to do by adding some more play time to his routine. This way, your dog wouldn’t come up with some funny ways to entertain himself that may involve chewing up your clothes or shoes.
5. Play helps combat pet obesity
Play is a major solution to the growing problem of pet obesity. Current estimates show that 53% of U.S. dogs are obese or overweight. And a recommended measure to shed extra calories is to add few simple play sessions a day to a dog’s routine. More so, when you keep your dog slim, it leads to a 15 percent increase in his lifespan.
So instead of treats, you can take it for a walk or give him a toy to play with it. Dogs love to sniff around so it doesn’t have to be route march.
Dog rule to note:
Don’t get too physical
You have to be careful if you have to engage in interactive plays with your dog because it can be pretty rough and lead to injury. Remember dogs love to wrestle with their mouth, so they may play with another dog and use their mouth without hurting them. But this mouthing may get you into trouble if you try to get too physical with your dog.
So if you have a pumped-up pet, it is advisable to set strict ground rules. If you play the tug-of-war for example, you dog may get too excited about winning, and may result in a wrestling with a bitter end. But if you stick to retrieving, it may keep the game in control.
Start with a good diet
Before engaging your dog in a strenuous play, ensure your dog enjoy a good diet. Remember! All physical activity prescribed for dogs are intended for the healthy ones. And you need to be careful about your dog’s diet because some dog foods contribute to lethargy asides hyperactivity.
Size doesn’t matter
Some dog owners think dog breeds with larger size needs more exercise or play time, but that’s not true. The Newfoundlands are a good example of the larger breeds, but they require less exercise time than the smaller breeds.
Establish a regular play time
Just like you would for your child, you can create a time frame to allow your dog enjoy quality play every day. This helps to create a routine that the dog comes to expect. But be mindful that your pet can be resentful when you skip a session- and may take it out on your couch.
Always remember that dogs are social creatures and they opportunities for social and active play provides a physical and mental outlet for dogs.
Play for dogs provide a great workout, provides mental stimulation, relieve stress and boredom amongst other benefits. You can also build an amazing bond with your bond when you spend quality play time with it routinely. More so, playing decreases the likelihood of your dog developing destructive habits.
Lastly, remember you are also exercising yourself when you play games with your pup.