• Games and play are a fun way to interact with your dog, but you need to play by the rules.

    Playing is an important part of your dog’s daily routine. It is important that he spends an ample amount of time playing so he can stay healthy, fit, and happy. Playing can also be a fun activity for you and your family to participate in and will bring you closer to your dog. There are certain things to remember, though, when you play with your dog. You don’t want to promote bad behavior or let your dog get too aggressive. Here is how to play properly with your dog:

    How Much to Play

    A dog needs to play a significant amount of play time to get the proper exercise needed to stay in shape and remain healthy. For grown dogs, this means an hour of active play each day, split up into two thirty-minute chunks.

    Additionally, your dog should have something to do when you aren’t around to play with him. Dogs can get bored when they’re at home alone, and may resort to destructive behaviors like digging and chewing furniture if they don’t have something to keep them occupied. You can do this by giving your dog a toy to play with. One idea for keeping your dog busy for awhile is to give him a food-stuffed toy, one that he will have to somehow open in order to reach the treat inside.

    You should remember that you don’t want your dog to spend too much time outside playing. A dog that spends all his time playing outside will forget his manners when he comes inside. If you keep your dog outside most of the time, he will become isolated and independent. He will be less likely to be trained and will become more difficult to deal with. Spending time playing outside is healthy, but it should be done together and as an activity, and not as a constant.

    How to Play

    While any kind of aerobic activity (like running, jumping, swimming, etc.) will get the job done when it comes to exercise, your furry friend will benefit from playing structured dog games. Games like fetch, tug-of-war, find the treat, and anything else that has an objective or goal will teach your dog control and will bring you closer. Dogs love toys, so whatever dog games you can come up with using one of his toys will be added fun.

    Puppy Games

    Young dogs need special time to play as well. However, more than adult dogs, they are constantly learning while they play. For this reason, it is even more important to teach your puppy the right way to play. Puppies will tend to bite while they play, as a way of testing their limits and learning. This is normal, but should not be encouraged. If you are playing and your puppy starts to bite, you should stop playtime and make sure he knows that it is because he was biting.

    You should also play the right puppy games to prevent biting. Tug of war and any game that involves rough housing is not a good puppy game. These encourage biting.

    Where to Play

    When playing with your dog, you should make sure you are somewhere safe and contained. A backyard with a fence is recommended. If your dog is mature and well-trained enough to play around other dogs, you should consider taking him to a dog park. Make sure you scout the park for any danger areas and stay away from aggressive dogs. Also, make sure your dog is wearing identification.

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    You should control when play begins and when it stops; you are the pack leader!