Playing is beneficial for dogs. It teaches them about social structure and allows them to gain motor skills. Dogs’ play style varies across different dogs and their breeds. Some dogs enjoy playing fetch with their owners while other dogs enjoy the simplicity of a chase game. Some dogs prefer companionship while other dogs are contented being by themselves. Knowing our dog’s preference will allow us the make the best out of playtime.
Whenever we bring our dogs outdoors, we don’t get to choose the playmates we bump into. Pay attention to how our dogs are engaging to ensure that they are enjoying themselves during play. Play should always be mutual, whether it is with another dog or with another person. Notice your dog not responding to play signals and are showing signs of discomfort or anxiousness? Perhaps it’s time to stop play.
The key is to monitor the dogs and pay attention to how they are engaging with each other. Whenever dogs are playing together, there should be a balance in play, a natural back and forth in their interactions. Check out some of the ways dogs tend to play!
Dogs that display full-body contact and bared teeth are potentially Wrestlers. A common play style in sporting and terrier breeds, this can be enjoyed by any dog. This includes nipping, pushing, and jumping, but always be alert for bullying, biting, or stress.
The Lone Wolf
Not all dogs enjoy playing with other dogs and that’s ok. Interactive toys or treat-dispensing puzzle toys are suitable for dogs that prefer to be by themselves, and this can increase their attention span while adding in the element of fun. Toys like the KONG Wobbler or Gyro are a perfect fit!
Many dogs enjoy this high-speed game. While some dogs enjoy being chased, others prefer to do the chase. There would be times where their roles are reversed during play!
These dogs prefer to play alongside other dogs rather than being in the middle of the game. While having their focus on the dogs in the middle, they tend to run and bark along the outer edge.
Whether it’s a stick, toy, or perhaps another dog’s tail, dogs that enjoy playing tug can’t get enough. They are not looking to ‘win’ the game, there is a balance and the act of tugging is what makes them feel rewarded. Whether with dogs or humans, take note to avoid tug play in dogs that has the tendency to display possessive aggression. The last thing we want is a fight breaking out. Check out KONG’s Tug Toy or Beezles Tug for some tug fun!
The Body Slammer
This may look seemingly rough, but these dogs enjoy running into other dogs, shoulder barging or hip-checking them. Having compatible dogs of similar sizes that enjoy full-contact play ensures that both parties enjoy themselves, minimizing the chances of dogs feeling uncomfortable and getting injured.
The Soft Toucher
A gentle action that indicates the desire for a short-and-sweet play. Though hesitant in approaching, their actions show their curiosity in wanting to meet new friends to play with!
If your dog enjoys meeting other dogs, allow them to meet and greet without our interference. After all, body language is their first language and they are best at reading other dogs compared to humans. Dogs communicate via body language.
Play is an essential part of life for all dogs. Observe through the use of different types of games to find out which ones your dog enjoys. It is our responsibility to look out for them, ensuring that play is conducted in a calm environment, where the dogs are enjoying themselves.
Adopted from sources
– What’s Your Dog’s Play Style? (By Sassafras Lowrey, dogster)
– Dog play styles: Get your game face on
– What’s Your Dog’s Play Style? (By petbasics)