Setting aside time to play with your dog is critical for your pet’s health. An active lifestyle provides significant benefits that contribute to a pet’s overall well-being. Playing with your pet on a consistent basis is extremely important if you leave your dog home alone for extended periods of time.
Why Engaging Activities for Your Pets Are Imperative
Creating a consistent routine for exercise is important for your dog’s long-term physical and mental health. Getting out to run and play helps improve and sustain dogs’ coordination, balance, and joint health. Repeatedly engaging your dog’s body and mind with stimulating activities also contributes to their cognitive abilities, behaviors and mental health.
Just like humans, pets require an outlet too. Pets also experience stress and anxiety and being active helps them decompress. Pet owners commonly notice improvements in their pets’ behavior and a reduction in destructive habits when they get adequate exercise. Giving your dog time to expend their energy helps alleviate hyperactivity, chewing and some forms of barking. It also helps positively socialize your dog with other animals, ensuring they do not act aggressively.
Great Ways to Play with Your Pet
To get the most out of playtime, there are several practices to incorporate and some to avoid. With the proper routine, pet owners can activate their pet’s mind while improving their listening and obedience skills.
Fetch is a great way to train obedience and retrieval skills. Incorporating commands, such as “sit” and “drop it,” will help reinforce lessons you have already been teaching.
Search games where dogs look for a treat or toy that has been hidden in or under something are great mental exercises. Games that keep their attention and that require thinking are great ways to sharpen their senses. Best of all, they are excellent opportunities for you to strengthen your bond.
When playing with your pet in a public area, like a park, you are also increasing their social skills. Being around new people, animals and places can make it easier for your pet to make new friends.
What To Look Out for (and Avoid!) While Playing
When playing with your dog, there are games to avoid that help discourage aggressive behavior. Do not play games like tug-o-war or keep away. Also, avoid games that include parts of clothing or the body. Do not provide positive reinforcement when your dog is growling or biting. Instead, address these negative behaviors swiftly to help remind your pet that they are unacceptable.
It is crucial for pet owners to maintain control the entire time. Do not let your pet get overly excited or out of control. If they stop behaving, you can immediately stop playing the game to show them their behavior is unacceptable. Conversely, you should reward your dog when they behave well.
Although energy levels vary depending on breed, running, jumping and playing are normal parts of a dog’s life. If your dog no longer wants to play, there may be cause to visit a veterinarian.
Sunset Veterinary Clinic is dedicated to making sure your pet is feeling their best. To make an appointment, call us at 405-844-2888 or visit our contact page for more information.