Playing together is such an enriching experience for both you and your dog! You've heard the expression, those who play together, stay together - well the same applies to you and your pooch. If you put the time and effort in to playing regularly with your dog, you're pouring currency in to that relationship bank account you share!
We've all had experiences with dogs who bolt the minute you let them off the lead. Off to explore the environment, chase that squirrel, run up to another dog (whether they are welcome or not) or rush to eat the half eaten sausage roll discarded on the ground. But what if you could have a dog who instead just wants to hang around with you. A dog that stays by your side, ready to play! Who isn't interested in the pesky distractions that the environment has to offer because they know that with you is where the party's at!
Teaching your dog how to play helps them to build skills that will support you in resolving all kinds of behaviour struggles. So for example, you have a dog that barks and lunges at other dogs - they struggle to disengage and listen to you when they see that dog. Through play we can teach a dog to let go of a toy, even when they are in high arousal. In effect we are teaching them the skill of disengagement. We can apply that skill to disengaging from other things too... so disengaging from lunging at another dog, disengaging from barking at the postman, disengaging from eyeing up the steak sandwich you left on the coffee table! So not only are you having great fun with your pup - you're helping them to build key skills in the process.
Check out the video we filmed recently showing how we introduced a 9 year old dog that's never really engaged in toy play how to begin to play.
Play is a great thing to introduce in to your relationship with your dog, no matter their age - from tiny puppies all the way through to senior dogs. And don't forget to follow our Facebook page and Youtube channel for more videos coming soon, showing how you can build on those skills to turn any dog in to a play crazed dog desperate just to hang out and play with you!