There is no doubt that playing with your dog is beneficial – for him and for you! Although many pet parents may take their dogs for walks in the woods or on the beach or in the backyard for a game of fetch, they may not consider true play as something that could be beneficial for their dog.
There are many reasons that play is great for your pup (and for you!) and we have compiled those reasons. Consider this when you have some free time and your dog is bounding around with excess energy and the weather just may not be conducive to a long run or hike.
Why Playing With Your Dog Is Beneficial
- Mental stimulation is as important as physical stimulation. If you have a high energy or dog who thrives when he has a “job” you will want to give him one! Hide treats around the house and send your dog on a scavenger hunt. Give your dog a puzzle toy and watch him solve it and offer positive reinforcement every time he solves the puzzle and earns that treat.
- Fetch is fun! You can play fetch with your dog on your own. Toss her favorite toy and urge her to bring it back to you. Make a fuss about what a good girl she is when she returns to you with the toy and when she drops it for you to throw again. If there are two of you to play fetch with her, stand at opposite ends of the house (if the weather isn’t cooperating) and toss a toy to the other person, and ask her to fetch it and bring it back. Keep it up and help her burn energy.
- Give him a new toy. Dogs get bored with their toys and other belongings just like humans do. That doesn’t mean you need to buy new toys every week BUT you can pack up a few of the toys for a few days then bring them back out and swap them with other toys. This will keep him intrigued and interested in the toys that will seem “new to him.”
- If you’re in public and your dog is playing with another dog or two, he is building his social skills. Watch how the dogs run and jump and play. You can see how they interact with one another and may just see the joy your dog gets from playing with other dogs. It can be a joy to watch!
- Every time you are playing you are training your dog. It may not feel like a training session for you – or for her – but it is! If you’re playing fetch, she is learning to “come” or to “drop it.” If your dog is playing with a food puzzle he is learning patience and is teaching himself how to solve a puzzle and receive a reward.
- A tired dog is a happy dog! When your dog is getting physical and mental stimulation it is tiring him out and that just might lead to better behaviors. If your dog is tired from being physically and mentally stimulated, he may not be bored and that means your shoes may not get chewed!
- Playing is one of the best forms of bonding with your dog. What can be better than that? Every moment you spend with your dog is a gift you are giving to him and one he is giving right back to you – unconditionally.
We are so thrilled with our new Doggijuana toys and with sharing the benefits of catnip with the canine community! Check out our toys and the benefits of catnip for dogs!
Article by pet parent Robbi Hess who shares her life with high-energy poodles and truly understands how catnip for dogs helps her pups chill!