We all know that playing games with your dog is fun, however there are many added benefits of playing with your dog that go further than simply having fun. Spending a little bit of time each day on playtime with your dog and in your daily routine is an easy and simple way to improve your dog's life. Below, we take a look at five of the benefits of playing with your dog and why you should do this.
Playing is good physical exercise for you and your dog
As you will know, dogs need regular exercise. Typically this will be in the form of a dog walk, a few times per day. However, there is another, potentially more fun way of gaining physical exercise. Playing with your dog will provide them with another avenue of using up all their excess energy. Equally, this method will provide the opportunity for you to get a different form of exercise too.
Playing in such a way need not last for hours. A short five to ten minutes in the garden or in the park is all your dog will need. The fun your dog will have chasing a ball or tugging on a rope with you is endless for them, and it provides some great, quality bonding time between you and your pooch.
Playing will strengthen your bond
The link between a dog and their owner can be incredibly strong. By playing regularly with your dog, you will ever-increase this bond. A dog will enjoy play time, and will come to want to do it regularly, when they recognise the tell-tale signs of you preparing to initiate play with them.
If you are acting as one of the fun things in their life, you are going to make them happy and they are going to enjoy spending lots of time with you.
Playing provides mental stimulation
Mental awareness is rightfully becoming ever more prominant in everyday life for dog owners. But equally, mental awareness in your dog is something you should be considering. Alongside physical exercise, a dogs mental wellbeing is key to a happy, healthy hound. Games which involve your dog interacting with you, can provide just such mental stimulation.
Playing tug or fetch with your dog is simple to do and will keep your dog busy. They will have to react to what you are doing, either by exerting pressure to pull back during a tug game, or retriveing and returning a ball to you in a game of fetch. Have a daily game of fetch in the garden with you dog and it will do them wonders both physically and mentally.
Playing can relieve stress
Linked to mental awareness, stress relief is an imprtant benefit to both you and your dog. Playing with them, particularly after a long day at work, can be a great mental stimulant for you. It will also increase your dogs mood, allowing them to bounce around and enjoy themselves.
A dog can be a great way of countering feelings of anxiety or depression, as they are an important part of your life, and they can really make a difference to how you feel.
When you play with your dog, you are training your dog
A benefit of playing with your dog is that it is a great way to add in some frequent training. You can adapt playtime with your dog to teach them to follow some basic rules.
As an example, if, when you are playing, your dog starts to mouth your hand too much, simply stop playing. This will teach them that when they use their mouth to grab your hand, that this behaviour isn't acceptable to you.
Your dog will quickly learn what they should and should not do for you to engage in play with them. Using playtime to enforce good behaviours you want your dog to learn is a simple and fun way of training them.