Taking care of your dog entails much more than buying pet food and taking your dog to the vet’s. Of course, if you are doing any of that, you are on the right path. Congratulations to you. However, there may be some critical component of your dog’s development missing: play. Playing with your dog is quite essential for the ultimate development of your beloved pet. There are inherent benefits associated with it that may not be available through any other means. Additionally, these benefits extend to not just the pet but to you as well. It gives you a welcome respite from your daily activities. Moreover, playtime gives you the opportunity also to exercise. When you do not actively create the time to play with your dog, you miss out on all of these benefits. In this article, we will show you the benefits that come with having fun with your dog. Don’t forget to gain all of these benefits by keeping your pet with you through an ESA letter for your emotional support dog.
- It Enhances Dog Training
Training your dog is one venture you should take seriously. We all have come across that one ill-mannered dog that snaps at everyone. Imagine the angst you felt at the distasteful behavior of that dog. That is exactly how people will feel if you leave your dog untrained. Play gives you an avenue to teach your dog a few lessons each day.
Here, the focus will not be on teaching your dog some new tricks of something of that sort. Thus, you may not be following the traditional methods employed in dog training. Also, there is no one rule about training your dog using play. You have to find the perfect combination that works just for your dog. During play, you can reinforce positive behavioral traits. For instance, if you realize that your dog bites people/things a lot, you can fashion your games around that.
- Improves Mental Health
Dogs are some of the most intelligent pets you can come across. However, much like humans, a dog can get smarter. Playing games can be a means to achieve that. It can be a tool to improve the mental capacity of your dog. The complicated games give the dog the chance to work through problems. For instance, you can purchase puzzle games for your dog. Figuring out the solutions can be fun for the two of you; it will also improve your dog’s ability to be critical. Even simple games can help your dog’s IQ, too. While it may not involve elaborate tasks, it could give your dog the chance to make their own decisions.
You have to be careful while playing games with your dog. In the first place, there is always the possibility of getting injured. In the fun of playing, the dog can cause you injuries using its teeth or paws. In the same vein, games you think are harmless and straightforward can be potentially dangerous. You might want to look out for the toys you make use of, ensure that your dog is protected at all times. Additionally, be patient with your pet. If they fail to figure out the solution to a puzzle, you can have them start over. Yelling or hitting the dog is counter-intuitive.
- Building Social Skills
As stated in the introduction, antisocial dogs seem to be less loved than others. A well-behaved dog should be able to interact with other dogs freely. It should also be able to sit still in public and is generally friendly to other dogs. Conversely, anti-social dogs yap at other dogs and balk when touched by strangers. They make interaction difficult and are annoying to everyone else.
However, playing with your dog takes care of all that. This is especially so if you have your dog play with other dogs. You can also take your dog to social events and have them get integrated.
- Reduces Stress
This is a benefit that accrues to both your dog and you. Generally, having fun and games can, indeed, be a great way to relieve stress. Your muscles loosen and become more flexible when you engage in physically engaging acts such as dancing or running. The same applies to your dog, too. Playing with your dog can be an effective way to reduce the effects of stress on them. If you realize that your dog is getting unnecessarily stressed, you can schedule an emergency playtime for them.
Similarly, playing with your dog can act as a stress-relief mechanism for you, too. Research has shown that playing with your dog can eliminate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Also, it can stimulate the release of endorphins. This feel-good hormone can totally change your mood for the better. Thus, schedule in playtime into your weekly schedule and watch your mood get better every day.
- Strengthening Your Bond
Play can be a creative way to bond with your pet. Just like humans, the more time you spend with a pet, the familiar and closer you get with it. Playtime is one of the easiest ways to spend some quality time with the dog.
You have to understand that when you engage them in play, you are not just having fun. You communicate to the dog that you are a fun-loving person. It will get to associate this with you, making you one of its favorite persons. Go out of your way to spend time and have fun with your dog. You will be developing a bonding system that will surely benefit you in the long run.
- Play Eliminates Problematic Behaviors
If your dog has some bad traits you want to take care of, play can be a way to achieve that. If your dog chews up your shoes or barks excessively, it could be a symptom of boredom. These actions are just their own ways of finding fun and being active. Regularly playing with your pet gives them something to do. When they are busy, they will have less time to engage in bad habits such as those mentioned above.
There are several ways to play with your dog. Some ideas include playing catch/fetch, wrestling, puzzles, etc. However, in some cases, you may have to be ingenious. You will have to find out what works specifically for your dog and engage it. You may also want to think outside the box. This is mostly if the usual suggestions have failed to work for the dog. In all, prioritize the safety and entertainment of your pet.
- You Can Make New Friends through Play
It may not seem like it, but you could make some new friends by playing with your pet. As already stated, you will have to take your pet to the park to play every once in a while. There, you will be sure to find fellow dog-lovers doing the same. It offers you the opportunity to engage and share similar interests with these people.
To be clear, this is not just wishful thinking. There are studies that show that pet owners were more likely to meet their significant others faster than the average person. Also, pet owners were found to know more people in their neighborhood than the average person. This is definitely because everyone loves a dog. So, if you want to rekindle your social life, consider taking your dog to the playground to meet some like minded folks! Who knows, you could find your significant other through this means, or discover someone who shares your love for pubg betting sites. The point is, there is no telling what/who your dog will lead you to.
Tips Playing with Your Dog
You should be careful to protect your dog while they are playing. This is important if you are taking them outdoors. There are inherent dangers you may not even be aware of. These could potentially harm your dog if you do not take care. Furthermore, you have to create a safe environment around your dog. This is to say that you have to protect others from your dog. Even if your dog isn’t violent, it could get quite excited during play. Your pet could bite or harm someone without meaning to. Below, you will find the safety tips to apply when your dog is at play. These tips will protect not just the dog, but everyone else that comes in contact with it.
- Do not leave the dog unsupervised
Playtime is not a period for you to catch up with friends on social media or run to the grocer shop to pick up some items. As a rule, your dog should never be left unsupervised while playing. Left to its own devices, your dog could wreak havoc to your surroundings and anything within immediate sight.
Similarly, you should never leave the dog alone with children. Toddlers and kids could mimic the sounds of prey. More so, the way toddlers move could falsely alarm the dog. The pet could attack the child in response. Thus, do not leave the pet with a child. It is possible to have a child play with the dog. However, always make sure that you are within earshot and that you are also paying attention. Do not engage in any activity that will totally consume your attention. Give yourself enough room to be able to spring to action if you need to.
- Make sure the toys are safe
Toys make playtime more enjoyable for the dog. The most popular ones are balls. On the whole, balls are safe and may not harm the dog. However, they could easily turn to a choking hazard for your beloved pet.
When getting a toy, consider the type of pet you have. Also, bear in mind the pet’s size and how the toy will fit when they grip it. You can play catch or tug of war with a ball, but also learn where to draw the line. If the dog becomes agitated or refuses to give up the toy, you should put an end to the game. Supervise your children when they are playing with the dog’s toys. They should never get to struggle with the dog about the toy. This is to prevent them from getting bitten or harmed in some way by the dog. Some pets can be extremely protective of their items. When they feel threatened, they could lash out, hurting anyone around them.
Also, pay attention to chew toys. Some dogs are destructive and could immediately destroy any toys they come in contact with. Some others aren’t, and can play with a chew toy for years with no incident. Whatever is the case, pay attention to the dog. Make sure it does not swallow any part of the toy. If it does, it could lead to intestinal blockage, causing pain to the dog and costing you some money.
- Create a safe environment
The place where you play with the dog should be safe too. You should actively make sure that you do not put your dog in harm’s way. Thus, for instance, if you are outdoors, steer clear of roads and bicycle paths. You do not want your dog getting knocked over by a motorist. This tip also helps to keep road users safe. A lot of accidents occur because pets run into the road, distracting drivers and causing collisions. Keep both your dog and road users safe by avoiding busy paths.
If you play inside the house, do not engage in wild games. Avoid smooth surfaces such as polished wood floorings. The dog could slip and get injured while playing there. In fact, it could even be you who gets injured playing there. Also, remove obstacles out of the way. Make sure there are no sharp exposed surfaces in the play area. Do stay away from potential hazards such as open fireplaces and the likes.
In this article, we’ve shown you the benefits of playing with your dog. Additionally, you’ve also seen some tips to bear in mind during play. Do not forget that your dog’s health and care is in your hands. Always make sure you live up to the expectations.
About the Author:Since her teen years, Bethany Watson was always interested in writing and esports, so she decided to merge these two passions by choosing the career of a journalist who mostly writes about trends in eSports. She regularly contributes to the major media publications in the niche and serves as an editor for betting sites for esports.