Play with Your Dog!
For decades, dogs have been known as “Man’s Best Friend”, but have people been “Dog’s Best Friend”? More importantly, if we asked your dog, would your dog say that you are his best friend? What if you’re dog goes to the dog park daily, or doggie daycare? Are you sure you are your dog’s best friend?
It is an interesting question to ponder, and certainly something to strive for.
What is the best type of interaction to have with your dog, to be your dog’s best friend? PLAY! Who does your dog play with the most? The person or dog your dog plays with the most is probably their “best friend”.
There isn’t enough emphasis put on the importance of playing with our dogs, specifically, playing with toys. Some people even say playing is bad and that if you play with your dog, it will hurt your leadership.
Of course, mutual respect is very important in the human-dog relationship, but who are you most happy to work for: your friends who you have fun with, or your strict, intimidating boss?
I am the most productive when I’m having fun, and I’ve found the same to be true for dogs. This doesn’t mean that I don’t set boundaries, but overall, work should be enjoyable. Playing with your dog is one of the most powerful ways to build a relationship with your dog and motivate your dog to work for you.
Dogs need interaction, stimulation and exercise. It doesn’t matter whether your dog weighs eight pounds or 80 pounds: Play with your dog! Get some new toys, and have fun!
**If you’ve never actually played with your dog in this way, don’t worry if your dog doesn’t reciprocate your efforts at first. Initiate games when your dog has a lot of energy and be persistent. Try different types of toys – dogs have preferences, too!
CAUTION: Don’t play with your dog in a way that has them put their teeth on your skin. Even though you know it is “just play”, it is not good to encourage this behavior. Play with toys, and within the context of the game, teach your dog to “drop” or “give”. Teaching your dog how to share with you and an invaluable lesson and can prevent your dog from becoming possessive.