How much time a day do you spend playing with your pet? Do you spend at least fifteen minutes playing with them every day? There are many benefits to playing with your dog. A dog is a social animal and playing with them helps them learn about relationships. Playing with your dog regularly will teach you about your dogs personality and will prevent your dog becoming bored. It is also a great way to provide exercise for your dog.
MORE TH>N have just launched a new campaign to encourage people to spend an extra fifteen minutes per day playing with their dog or cat. This extra play will make your pet happier and healthier strengthening the bond they have with you. Spending some extra time playing with your pet will put a smile on your face as well and you will appreciate your pet more. MORE TH>N are donating £1 to the RSPCA for each Play More Pledge they receive. You need to upload a picture of you and your dog or your dog to the play more pledge page. After you have done this you can share via Twitter or Facebook to encourage people to join in. The aim is to help the RSPCA reach their £20,000 goal to build a sensory garden for rescue dogs and fund a cattery refurbishment.
Five ways to play with your dog
I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Eddie. He has a loving and playful nature. There is nothing he loves more than curling up beside you. It is easy to live with a Cavalier King Charles, they are very easy to please and accepting dogs. MORE TH>N challenged me to play with Eddie every day for a week and report back on my findings. Eddie does love to play but sometimes he can be a little lazy and needs some encouragement. Here are five ways to play with your dog.
Discover your dogs natural play personality
Different dogs like different activities. What does your dog do when he is excited? Does he chase things or pounce on them? Does he like to seek things out that have been hidden? Experiment with different toys and mimic his natural play behaviour. There are four main types of games dogs like to play:
- Pounce and shake – use soft squeaky toys
- Chase and retrieve – use balls
- Hide and seach – this can be done with food, toys or people
- Tug of war – use rope toys and rubber rings
Eddie loves playing pounce and shake and these soft furry toys are perfect for this. It seems to be his natural instinct as he did not need to be shown what to do with them. He will shake them about and then bring them over for a tug of war with you.
Teach your dog what to do with a toy
You can’t just give your dog a toy and expect them to know what to do with it. Encourage their interest by shaking it and talking in excited tones. When they show interest reward them with a treat or praise. Turn away from your dog and occasionally drop the toy then snatch it back. This will encourage them to compete for the toy. The more time you spend playing with your dog the more quickly they will learn. Soon there will be no stopping them. Getting a dog to play is about patience.
Use treats to give them something to work for
Combining food with toys is a great way to encourage a dog to use his mind. Eddie has a great sense of smell and could smell that I had hidden dried sausages, his favourite, in a dog intelligence test toy. I had to show him a few times how to open the doors to get the sausages out. It took a little while but eventually he figured it out and got a reward for doing so. The next time I got the toy out he was much quicker and more confident about what to do
Kong toys are great for this as well. You can hide some food in the hole in the centre or just smear some peanut butter inside and your dog will spend ages trying to get it out.
Games do not always need toys
Sometimes all a dog wants to do is play chase. I was trying to interest Eddie in a toy and he kept running up and pouncing on me. In the end I just chased him round the garden. He was really happy to play this game. He would sneak up behind my back and tag with with his paws then run away when I tried to catch him. It was great fun and Eddie was barking excitedly by the end. We also took Eddie out in the car for a trip to Duddo, a stone circle in Northumberland. The trip involved a longish walk though a hay field and Eddie really got excited exploring somewhere new. He did lots of running about and sniffing.
Cuddles are play as well
Sometimes all a dog wants is a few cuddles and tickles/ Eddie loves getting his ears and his tummy tickled and this can often turn into a fun game where he attempts to catch your hand. All this can be hard work and Eddie then loves to cuddle up with his favourite toy and go to sleep.
How did the week go?
We really enjoyed the week of playing more with Eddie and he has learnt to use several new toys. I learnt a lot about the sort of games that he likes to play naturally and it was lovely to take him out with us for a day. He has got much better about going in the car, he used to really hate it. Eddie has benefited from more exercise and is sleeping much better at night. MORE TH>N sent us a Whistle Activity Monitor which is like a fitbit for dogs. It monitors Eddie’s activity though the week allowing you t0 track his progress. With the extra play during the week he got much more exercise.
What games do you play with your dog? Have you any ideas I haven’t thought of? Let me know below.
Don’t forget MORE TH>N will donate £1 to the RSPCA for each photo uploaded to their play more pledge page, Why not pop along and get involved now.
I was sent a Whistle Activity monitor and some dog toys and treats in order to take part in the pledge to play challenge. My opinions are my own