Dogs Playing - Dog Play
This is mostly about us dogs playing with you humans but it is also very important for us to be given time to play with other dogs. It’s best if we learn when we are young because there is a bit of truth in the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” It’s not really exactly true but it is a lot easier and quicker to learn when you are young although we can learn new things when we’re older too!
We learn to play as soon as we are born
- We start playing with our brothers ans sisters when we are very young puppies. Playing helps us understand our bodies, how we can move, run, jump and roll as well as teaching us how to get on with other members of the pack. Older members of the pack like mum and dad will also play with us and help us understand good doggy manners and good behaviour.
- As we learn to play we begin to understand the rules and enjoy it more and often look for other dogs and puppies to play with – just because its fun and we feel safe. We learn rules like the “dog bow” (when we take a quick bow before starting play so that our friend knows we are just here for fun) and other little signals which all dogs understand.
How to treat dogs that cheat in dog play
- Sometimes we will come across a dog that cheats in play or they have not learned the dog play rules so they get too rough or pushy. If you humans are buddies with a dog that doesn’t seem to know the rules, don’t let him play with other dogs until they can play nicely; maybe keep the dog on a leash while he meets new friends and learns how to be nice!
- Right from the beginning, make sure we can be called back to you at almost anytime while we play. Just a word like “stop” or “come” is quite easy to understand. Calling us back sometimes can stop us getting to excited or rough and let’s us calm down a bit before playing again with either another dog or a human!
- Fun dog play can sometimes look a bit rough because sometimes it is but in most cases we are able to work this out for ourselves, just leave us alone.
- There won’t be any real fights as normally in dog play there are no winners and no losers but if we get just too excited our little play fights can turn into real fights so keep an eye on us. It is normal dog play for us to chase,catch, bite, growl, jump and pounce!
Here are some other good reasons dogs need play and dog toys.
1. Dogs playing – It’s fun and healthy to play!
You humans can be quite lazy and you can’t run as fast or run around as much as your dog buddy. We have to walk beside you and be good.
Give us a toy to play with and we’re off! We run, we smile and we get lots of exercise! More than we ever get just walking. Throw me a ball and I’ll bring it back to you as many times as you want. All you got to do is stand still. Keep me well exercised and you are looking after my health; I won’t become big fat and lazy and I’ll be stronger to fight off any bugs that are around.
2. Toys can save expensive trips to the Dog Dentist!
I will suggest some yummy chewy toys that also keep my teeth nice and clean and my gums strong. We dogs, just like you humans, need to look after our teeth. Sometimes you give us too much sugar and other bad things, just like you sometimes do with your own pups.
We can’t brush our own teeth but a great way to look after our teeth is to buy toys that are made to help clean a dog’s teeth as we play. Good dental dog toys let us chew a lot. Chewing makes our mouth quite wet and slimy (then you hate touching our toys!). But this saliva helps to get rid of plaque which helps to keep our mouth and teeth clean.
3. Dogs Playing keeps us active, happy and helps keep us out of trouble
We dogs can get bored just like your human pups. If we are just left lying about all day with nothing to do, we might get up to some mischief like digging holes or playing with things we shouldn’t really touch. If we’re not kept busy for a while each day it sometimes difficult for us to relax and if we can’t relax, we often do bad things like barking too much or chewing your washing.
Some toys let us run around and exercise, some can even get our brain working as we try and work out how to use the toy. Sometimes it’s tricky working out the best way to get our treat from a Kong! Keep us busy and we’ll behave and we’ll be tired enough to relax when you want us to.
4. Dogs play brings us all closer together.
You humans often play with your own human buddies. You at least do things together with your buddies and it brings you closer.
If you want to be closer to your dog buddy, play with us with our favorite dog toys,dogs playing with humans makes us even greater buddies! We love you playing and enjoying our favorite toy, we don’t mind sharing! It’s also great to play with our other dog mates, this builds trust between us and brings us closer together. Dogs playing with toys also helps us sort out our position in the family pack without having to fight. We can work out our place in front of some people or dogs in the family or behind. Knowing our place in the pack is really important for us.
Dog Play rules
We usually let you humans make the rules for dog play and we can work out rules for playing with each other and rules for playing with our human buddies. It’s important for you humans to know the rules and help us make up the rules when we play with you.
- Play with your dog – Pat Miller
- Dog Park Etiquette
- Canine Body Language Brenda Aloff
- The Games Animals Play
“Everything I know I learned from dogs.” – Nora Roberts (The Search )
Find out about about Jerry’s 9 best dog toys
Jerry Shep rights about his favorite toys ( a ball of course!) and some other old favorites. He suggest a few excellent quality toys for young pups and puppies.
It’s important to buy quality toys for your dogs because cheap toys can often be toxic and very dangerous. Apart from that, the idea of an indestructible dog toy is great and in some cases, the makers have ALMOST got it right.
Dog Play is so important – but so is understanding ‘rules’. Jerry Shep, dog play expert, also writes about Dog Tug of War – setting the basic rules
Tug of war is a great game for SOME dogs but there are others that should not be playing tug of war with their humans. Jerry gives us a list of resons why some dogs should not be playing tug of war or dog tug
Many dogs can play tug of war but it is so important to play with a set of rules, otherwise things can go wrong and instead of being a good thing for your dog’s learning, it can be a bad thing.