Play is fundamental to a positive quality of life for a dog.
Typically when we think about play and dogs we think of dogs playing with other dogs.
Playing with members of your own specie is important.
Dogs, as canines, benefit from being with and playing harmoniously with other dogs. To be able to do this successfully, dogs need to be socialized and introduced to other dogs at a young age. Dogs who react to other dogs may not have been socialized. Slowly introducing dogs to other dogs who are dog socialized can be of help. If you have a dog who is comfortable with other dogs, it would be helpful to keep those play opportunities happening. Scheduling play dates or visiting well supervised dog parks or Doggie day care programs can be positive for many dogs. Not all dogs are comfortable around other dogs or in highly social environments with many dogs. It is important to know your dog and respect your dogs comfort level in all these situations.
Dogs can be bonded and have best friends to play with!
Dogs are overall social beings. They relate to other dogs and to humans feelings. My dogs, Jazz and Jive, are very bonded to each other. They are with each other all the time and are unhappy when they are separated for too long. They are also competitive with each other. When they play with each other it is the mouth play that dogs do. It is fun for me to watch how they play and how playing builds the bond they share. Your dog may not have a live in dog partner but perhaps a relative or neighbor has a dog whom your dog loves to play with. Setting play dates for them is a good thing to do.
Dogs can also bond with humans and enjoy playing with them.
I spend a lot of time playing with my two dogs. We do 10 to 15 minutes of nose work almost every day. The primary reason I began this sport with both dogs was because you can do it in the house and the backyard just for fun! The dogs love it and it heightens their sniff and search abilities. We spend time playing catch in the backyard as well as a modified version in the house. Spending time with dogs having fun together is a great way to build the relationship and bond. Teaching dogs basic obedience behaviors is most successful when it is fun for both the pet parent and the dog. Using positive training techniques can make any training feel more like a fun game for dogs, When pet parent/dog interactions are positive, the impact on the relationship is positive as well!
Dogs need toys to call their own!
I believe every dog deserves their own toy box or at least basket for their very own toys. Dogs need chew toys, plush toys, fun toys they enjoy playing with. My dogs take a soft toy out with them every time they go outside. Other breeds do this as well. I think it is a fun thing for them to do but I do not want to be bringing those toys in everyday so I have trained them to bring the toys in when they come in. They view this as one of their jobs and they love doing it. I have one dog who loves to mouth toys like a kneading motion with his mouth. This is soothing for him and relaxes him. Giving dogs a large choice of toys will give them ownership over things belong to them and gives them less opportunity to find your things to chew or get into.
Dogs also need mental stimulation through mental play
Challenging the mind to find that treat under the tennis ball is a fun way for dogs to use both their minds and physical abilities. You can also get actual puzzles for dogs to keep their minds alert. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise for our dogs. Searching for hidden treats works well. There are lots of games that employ the use of mind and body for dogs.
Play for dogs is essential to a good quality of life.
Enjoy playing with your dog!
WOOFS & SMILES!