Playing with your dog is an effective stress reliever for you and your dog! It also creates a stronger bond between you and your canine friend. Playtime provides dogs with the exercise their body needs. It maintains healthy organs and lubricates their joints which means they might not suffer from aches and pains. Play also stimulates their brain, helping improve focus and instill discipline.
However, there is a proper method for engaging with dogs during playtime. When a game encourages your dog to bite, chase and jump, it can cause problems if there are no clear boundaries for play. They can get themselves or other people hurt thinking they are just playing a game.
To ensure safe play, you need to employ certain techniques when having fun with your four-legged pal. If you want to learn the right way to play with dogs, check out the tips below.
Choose the Appropriate Toy
Before you play with your dog, ensure you have the right toys. It can train dogs to associate specific objects to the game as well as ensure your dog’s safety. For example, you can have a dedicated ball to play fetch with then keep it away when the game has ended. Restricting access can help send the signal to your dog that it’s time to start the game when you bring out the ball. Make sure to select a ball size appropriate for your dog so that it can fit comfortably in their mouth but not be a choking hazard. In case you use frisbees as a retrieval toy, pick a softer version to make it easier on the dog’s mouth.
When you are not around to play with your pet, you can give them something to help alleviate their boredom. But keep in mind that you must remain mindful of the toy you give. If your pup is still in the chewing stage, rubber toys help prevent your pooch from targeting your shoes and other belongings. For dogs who need something comfy to snuggle with, a plush toy is a good option. You can get one that squeaks or has a unique design like a wine bottle dog toy.
Refrain from Imitating Your Dog during Play
Many dog owners get carried away when playing with their dogs. Some pet parents want to enhance the fun by imitating dog behaviors of dropping to the hands and knees and acting like a canine.
Instead, play with them using interactive toys like a tug toy. The short rope can be pulled by your dog on one end while you keep hold of the other end. Remember, don’t let your dog turn the tug toy into a chew toy because it’s not designed for that purpose. Keep the toy somewhere safe and only bring it out when it’s time to play tug. This will ensure that you are initiating the game and not the other way around.
Be Mindful of Your Tone When Saying Commands
It’s easy to squeal or make a high-pitched sound when you feel excited. But when you are playing with your pup, avoid doing this. Your canine companion can mistake the sound with the one that comes from their squeaky toys or a wounded animal, which can encourage your dog to pounce or attack.
Even if you are having fun with your pooch, you need to use a deep tone when correcting behavior. Also, be confident when you instruct your dog. Say commands firmly and avoid sounding like you are making a request. At the same time, stand tall and have a commanding stance. It will help your dog to respect you as its leader.
Set Rules and Boundaries for Every Game
As a pet parent, you should determine the games to play and when they happen. You can also use playtime to encourage good behavior. For instance, when teaching your dog to play catch or fetch, make sure they return the ball and drop it in front of you. Tell them to sit before throwing the ball. It will teach your dog that it needs to stay calm before the game can proceed.
On the other hand, you also need to act in ways that won’t encourage bad reactions from your furry pal. If, for example, your pup is trying to take something off your hands, don’t snatch the item away from them or hold the object above the dog’s head. They will see it as a challenge and they might jump and snap at you. Instead, hold the object and tell your dog “no” while making eye contact. It will help them understand that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and discourage them from doing it again.
Playtime with your dog can benefit you and your canine friend. It can strengthen your bond and improve your well-being. While it is a fun time to spend with your dog, you need to do the activity the right way to encourage good behavior and promote their safety. If you allow your dog to become too rowdy during play, they will likely exhibit similar behavior after the game is over—which can cause harm to your dog and other people. Once the fun is over, reward your four-legged pal with a treat. It will help encourage them to behave and look forward to something special after each game.
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