WHY IS PLAY SO IMPORTANT?
I'm going to start this section by ignoring dogs altogether to begin with... Stick with me though...
Imagine you had a day off work, your partner has taken the car, the kids are at school and you find yourself sat at home
on your own. "That sounds great", I hear you say, "I will enjoy the peace and I've got TV, Facebook, Internet etc. to keep me amused, right?"
Wrong, there is a power cut! So, you sit in silence for hours... Wondering what you can do to amuse yourself.
How would you feel? Irritated? Anxious? Restless? Bored!
OK, now imagine you've got a big deadline coming up at work.
You have a job list as long as your arm and there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done (I've been here many times!)
You spend a solid week working hard with little time for much else: Eat, Sleep, Repeat as the saying goes.
How would you feel? Frustrated? Stressed? In need of something fun to do!
Would it surprise you to know your dog isn't much different? They also feel Restless, Frustrated and Bored! As humans we can cope with a certain amount of stress and boredom, however dogs can't, and tend to "act up" in these situations.
This weekend you have no work and you've made plans to go to the beach with your friends. You spend the day chatting, breathing in the sea air, eating ice cream and putting 2p's into a machine for hours to get that doggy key ring!
You are having a great time. How do you feel now? Relaxed? Energised? Happy!
I've gone off topic a little here, but I am using it to illustrate my point. YOU have a need for social interaction, YOU need time to let your hair down and enjoy yourself... and YOU feel so much happier afterwards. Your DOG is exactly the same!
Playing with your dog doesn't have to be time consuming and you don't need to book time out of your calendar to do it!
A quick 5/10-minute play a few times each day is often enough time to have a massive impact on your dog’s happiness.
Play time should be something they have to look forward to each day, it will be a time for them to burn off some energy and enjoy themselves.
The more opportunities your dog has to play, explore and do fun things, the happier your dog will be.
You have nothing to lose and sooo much to gain by doing so! Trust me, your dog will love you for it!
With my hints and tips, you will get the best out of playtime with little effort.
I won't go into all the benefits play time has on dogs, I would be here all day...
However, I will leave you with some points to ponder over:
Did you know dogs learn things better when they are a little tired?
Play time is the ideal opportunity to integrate some training - Some dogs will do anything for a ball!
It's a time for you and your dog to bond, build trust and enhance your relationship.
Play time will actually decrease problem behaviours in dogs!