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5 Benefits of Playing with Your Dog

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If your dog had his way, every day would be a playday. You would never go to work or leave the house without him. All you would do is throw the ball, play tug of war, or take trips to the dog park. He might even allow you to squeeze in a nap before waking up to do it all again.

Your dog loves to play because it means quality time with you, his favorite person in the world. What you may not realize, however, is that playing with your dog comes with a variety of benefits, both for you and your canine companion. Read on to learn what they are!

Related: 4 Cool Benefits of Walking Your Dog in the Winter

There is no denying that playing with your dog is fun, but did you know that it has true benefits for you and your pooch? A quick play session gives you a mental break from the stresses of daily life and gives you a chance to focus on something other than yourself. But what about your dog?

Here are the top 5 benefits of playing with your dog:

  1. Improved physical health. Physical activity keeps your dog healthy and a daily play session is a great way to supplement the exercise your dog gets on his walk.
  2. Mental stimulation. Playing games that have rules forces your dog to use his brain as well as his body and that’s great for sharpening his mind and his focus.
  3. Stronger social skills. Having your dog play with other dogs and people is a form of socialization and it helps improve his ability to learn and respond to social cues.
  4. Opportunity for bonding. Even if you’re just playing for a couple minutes at a time, play time increases your bond with your dog.
  5. Subconscious training. Your dog learns from you during every interaction, even play time!

Now that you know just how important it is to get in your daily playtime with your dog, where do you go next? You probably already have a favorite game or two, but there are some simple ways to spice up your playtime. Keep reading to learn more!

Related: The Benefits of Dog Meditation

Playing with your dog isn’t something you need instructions for. You grab a toy or a ball and get to it! What you may not realize, however, is that there are right ways and wrong ways to play. Here are some simple tips for making the most of your play time:

  • Stay in control and make sure you are the one setting the rules – every play session is an opportunity to reinforce your dog’s training.
  • When teaching a new game, be generous with rewards – as your dog gets the hang of it, you can taper off.
  • Start new games off simply until your dog gets the concept and then build on it a step at a time.
  • Avoid games that encourage dominant or aggressive behavior – you don’t want to accidentally teach your dog bad habits.
  • Find ways to incorporate commands like Sit, Stay, and Down into your games.

The next time your dog drops his favorite toy in your lap and looks at you with those puppy dog eyes, don’t just ignore it. Play time is an opportunity to bond with your dog and it might just help you let go of a little stress. Enjoy it!


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