5 Reasons Why You Should Play With Your Dog.

5 Reasons Why You Should Play With Your Dog.

Terrier playing tug of war

Playtime is one of the most undervalued and beneficial ways to develop your dog.  As young puppies, dogs learn social skills through play as they nip and tug at one and another.  They learn boundaries as to what is and isn’t appropriate play.  Additionally, they develop motor skills as they learn to manage their bodies and coordination.  These valuable skills are critical in development.  But playtime shouldn’t stop at puppyhood.  Playtime has shown to benefit adult dogs in many ways.  Including:

Cocker Spaniel playing with a ball

1. Training

One of benefits of playing with your dog is that you are training your dog without even realising it.  For example, when a dog chases a ball, brings it back to you and waits patiently for you to throw it, the dog is practicing impulse control and restraint by not snatching the ball straight away.  Indecently, you have also taught your dog to retrieve an item.  Furthermore, you can develop games like tug as a positive reward for a job well done.  You can layer in basic obedience and reward your dog with a game of tug.

2. Mental Stimulation

Through play, dogs activate their senses which helps the brain continue to develop.  They become better coordinated, improve their socialisation skills, and improve their impulse control and problem-solving ability.  They are required to ‘think’ as they make decisions such as which way to run, where to grab the tug toy, when to release the ball etc.  They learn to coordinate their body better for more efficient movement.

Aussie Shepherd chases ball

3. Physical Exercise

An intense play session whether that’s a five-minute game of tug or fifteen minutes of throwing the ball is a great way to physically exercise your dog.  Through play they can burn off excess energy which is particularly handy if they have been sleeping all day.  Additionally, a good session of play in the morning, accompanied by training or a social walk is a great way to prevent destructive behaviours from boredom, such as digging and chewing.  By fulfilling your dog’s excess energy with play, they sleep more soundly during the day.

4. Improves Mental Health

Dogs love to play as it releases endorphins which creates joy and happiness and last long after playtime has finished.  Exactly like how we as humans experience the ‘runner’s high’ after exercise.  Additionally, playtime strengthens the dog’s prefrontal cortex which controls their decision-making abilities and ability to exercise restraint.  As they learn to make better choices, they improve their confidence. As a result, through play, we can improve our dog’s emotional and hormonal health which can also alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

5. Improves your Canine and Human bond

Having fun and playing with your dog, shows them that you care.  Just as puppies learn about relationships and socialisation, playing with your dog one on one, with your complete attention helps them feel appreciated and loved.  Through play we are able to increase your value so your dog is likely to pay more attention to you when you are outside of your home.

Playtime isn’t a marathon. It’s just a couple of extra 5-10 minute sessions during the day that will be have profound effects on your dog’s emotional and physical health in the long run.

person and dog playing on the beach

Add Playtime to your dog training routine

Love to play with your dog, but not sure where to start? Our classes include play as part of the curriculum,  Give Pawtastic Dog Training a call on 0406 389 506 to find out more.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: