by Charmaine Ng
Sure, everyone loves playing with his or her dogs. In fact, it probably is a regular component of your everyday routine. But have you ever thought about what it does for your canine? It’s more than just plain ol’ fun.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s important.
Obviously, all that running around and chasing toys with you is going to give your pup all the benefits of physical activity and exercise. Think of all the calories and energy Fido will be burning off! Not to mention, this also allows your dog to work out core muscles and strengthen joints. It’s always wise to set aside some time every day to have your pet exercise, whether it’s Fetch, simply walking to a park, or playing tug.
#2 Mental Workouts
When you play with your pet, he or she is going to have to assess the situation and you. This allows him or her to keep his or her mental facilities sharp, and thus helps to keep reflexes quick and reaction times fast. Games such as hide-and-seek or hunting a toy (where you allow Fido to have a quick sniff of his favourite toy, then hide it) are excellent for engaging all their senses. IQ toys are also great outlets for them to expend energy, keep them entertained and their minds working.
#3 Behavioural Benefits
A destructive pet usually means a bored one. If your pup is chewing on shoes, scratching up furniture, or displaying other damaging behaviours, you can rectify that by giving him or her some attention through playtime. Provide your pet with all sorts of toys – tug toys, IQ toys, chew toys – and rotate them throughout the week so that he or she gets to be engaged both mentally and physically.
#4 Social Skills
When playtime involves not just you but other dogs too, it greatly benefits your pup. It teaches him or her how to navigate in a dog’s social setting. A well-socialised pet displays good behaviour; he or she will be welcoming, friendly and trusting. Socialisation begins early in life and it’s a process that doesn’t end; regular playtime with you, other animals and toys, will help to keep your pup properly socialised.
#5 Bonding Benefits
The best thing about spending a little time each day to play with your pet is the chance you get to bond. All animals need regular love and affection, and playtime is a great way to reinforce that. Furthermore, the more you learn about your pup – his or her likes and dislikes, behavioural quirks and triggers – the better you’ll be able to understand him or her and thus, strengthen your relationship. Keeping your connection strong and healthy through playtime is truly important.