Playing with Your Dog

Dogs love to play. Unfortunately, as much as we'd like to, us humans don't always
have the time - or don't make the time - to really have fun and play.

There is work that needs to be done. Work around the house. Work at the office.

Work with the kids. Work is everywhere and the demands on our free time seem to
increase day by day.

This is just the reality of modern life. If we don't make time for play, we will eventually be guilty of neglecting the needs of our dog. Like any other member of the family, your dog has needs - it needs to play, it needs to be loved, it needs affection...more so when the dog is still a puppy.

In many ways, puppies are like babies, and they need to be raised properly. They need to receive a good education if you want them to grow up to be dogs with good manners. And like human babies, the best way to teach them is to make it fun - in other words, playing is learning!

While playing with your dog, the dog will get a chance to learn commands, to learn how to temper its bite so it doesn't bite down to hard, it will learn what it can jump on and what it should avoid.

One of the best methods is to start a game by asking your dog to do something, and once it does it, to start playing with it. In this way the dog will connect the action it did correctly with play time, and so the next time it wants to play, it will try to please you first by doing the action that it learned.

Naturally, this won't happen on the first attempt - but it's where learning behavior starts. Select a toy that your dog likes...the best option is often something that you can both grab at simultaneously. Dogs love "pulling games." You should be careful about how strongly you pull - especially when the dog is a puppy and it has yet to change its teeth (this usually happens when the dog is about 6 months old).

You should allow your dog to determine with how much force it can pull and stay in the game. If you are too rough, pull too hard or too aggressive, the dog will likely lose interest in the game.

Besides being a vehicle through which you can train your dog, playing is also good exercise, and perhaps most importantly, playing with your dog strengthens the bond between the two of you.

And that's something every dog owner wants from their dog, and every dog wants from their owner.