Why is Play Important for Dogs?
There are a number of reasons why it is beneficial to play with your dog. By nature dogs are social pack animals and as such enjoy the company and interactions with other dog and people. In the past dogs were bred for specific roles and would get their mental and physical stimulation from performing those roles in their everyday lives with man. In recent times, the majority of dogs are living as pets and have no job to do. Dogs are intelligent creatures and therefore can easily get bored, resulting in very undesirable, destructive behaviour.
One of the joys and reasons why we have dogs as pets is for the companionship and unconditional love they provide us. To build a strong bond with our dog, we need to accommodate all of their needs and this includes mental and physical stimulation. By building a bond with our dog we are able to more effectively train them and are able to build up trust. By interacting with your dog, they will begin to see you as a source of fun and enjoyment, and will often be waiting close to us for the next interesting thing to happen.
There are a number of natural games that dogs will play, including chase, possession and tugging. This can often be seen if dogs are playing with each other. Quite often they will chase each other, or pick up an object and run with it, trying to keep possession of the object. These types of games are great if your dog regularly meets other friendly dogs and gets the opportunity to engage in this sort of play. However, it is not always appropriate for our dogs to engage in these games inside the house.
There are so many different toys available that you could buy for your dog, that sometimes it is difficult to know what would be most suitable and is strong enough to last. It is disappointing when your dog destroys that new cute toy you just brought home, not to mention very bad value for money. Therefore if your dog is a more powerful chewer, you would save more money in the long run by purchasing durable dog toys. With today’s dog owners demanding more indestructible toys for their dogs, this has spurred the online pet supplies companies to search and make available the most durable toys they can find.
It is important to provide a selection of interesting toys for your dog. This will teach them what is appropriate to play with or chew. It is good to have some toys always available and rotate these on a regular basis to keep the toys interesting to your dog for longer. Every now and then you should introduce new toys to further keep the toy selection fresh and keep your dog interested. Also, keep a couple of special toys, that you keep hidden away and only get out on occasions, to initiate play with your dog.
Every dog breed has some innate breed traits, which dictate the games they are likely to find most stimulating. You can research your dog’s breed to gain more of an insight into what these are for your dog. Some dogs have a high prey drive, like to retrieve objects or excel in sniffing, to name a few. For example a Labrador retriever has strong instincts to fetch and retrieve; therefore a ball would be a great toy. There are a number of different dog balls that you could buy for your dog. These can range from hard or soft to highly durable or even erratic textures that provide random bounces. Always be sure to buy the correct size ball for your dog so they toy doesn’t risk being a choking hazard.