The Importance of Play
Playtime; the most exciting and fun part of a dog’s day. But while your furry friend is enjoying the time of his life playing fetch and tug-o-war, his body is actually reaping many physical and cognitive benefits. I’ve organized the most important benefits of play into four different categories to show why it’s important to play with your dogs, and how regular playtime can keep them healthy and happy.
Why is it important for your dog to play?
1. Overall health and physical well-being.
Just like humans, dogs need strength training and cardio exercises to keep their muscles solid and body fat percentage low. “An estimated 60 percent of Canadian pets are obese or overweight, says Dr. Jim Berry, a veterinarian in Fredericton, N.B., and president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Asso¬ciation” (Best Health Mag). Fetch, Frisbee, and water games provide great cardio while tug of war and agility exercises provide opportunities for muscle strengthening. If you introduce toys and games into your dog’s life at an early age, there is a better chance they will continue playing these games well into their senior years which will help keep their minds and bodies young.
2. Behavioral issues.
“Bristol University conducted a study of 4,000 dog owners which showed that dogs who don’t engage in a lot of play suffer from behavioral issues such as anxiety and aggression” (Puppy Leaks). Often you hear of many dogs with separation anxiety; toys and games can provide comfort and distraction from when their owner is not present. If you can get your dog playing with toys and games on their own, it is a great way to control their anxiety, and keep them distracted while you’re out so that they don’t turn your brand new sofa into a giant chew toy. When anxiety is lessened, and rules and boundaries are formed through play, a dog is much less aggressive with humans and other animals.
3. Cognitive sharpness and ability to train.
For most of us dog owners, one of the ultimate goals is to have a smart and well-trained dog. Playtime and training go hand in hand; playtime makes the mind smarter, therefore making training the dog easier. Playtime before training is also extremely helpful in having an attentive and calm dog at obedience class. Especially in puppies, you will see that it is nearly impossible to get their attention and train them when their mind is going a mile a minute. They are young and over stimulated with sights and smells in most environments, so the trick is to tucker them out prior to bringing them to class.
What you may think of as a simple game of fetch or hide and seek actually requires your dog to think quite deeply. The more creative you can get with games the more your forcing your dog to think, rationalize, and make decisions.
Lastly, dogs can become very attached to their toys. This allows you to use incentives other than treats while training your dog.
Hint: there are lots of great ‘incentives’ in this month’s Bark’N’Fun Box!www.thebarknfuncompany.ca
4. Bonding Time and Socialization.
From a young age, it is very important to socialize your dog with as many different types of people and animals as possible. Socializing early on also prevents the dog from becoming shy or developing shy habits. By interacting more with people through the act of play, your dog will be more fun to bring into social settings.
You are the most important person in their life. They cherish every second spent with you. Playtime is a great way to give your dog that attention and bond with them through laughter and excitement. This bond will ensure your dog is loyal and trustworthy.
So if you and your pup are looking to have a Bark’N Fun time, order a box today and make playtime even more special!