Posts Tagged ‘playing with dogs’

Keep your promise to play with your dog

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Dull playtime for dogs

Puppies play all the time.  They’re awkward and fairly chaotic. But, we get a handle on that.  We socialize our puppies to be calm and placid most of the time.  We have to- chaos and randomness rule  the house otherwise, right?

Over time, our desire to control doggy chaos and organize our pets into our own compartmentalized days means that “play” often becomes the daily walk- a scheduled, stately, linear, tromp down the  concrete sidewalk.  Playful initiatives on our dogs’ parts are discouraged.  We don’t want them running into somebody else’s yard, tripping other pedestrians or sniffing anything at all- whatsoever. We want them to go out purposefully and return expediently, and cleanly.  Sometimes we try to run off their excess energy so we let them become joggers with us.  Just FYI, jogging doesn’t work all the muscle groups for them either.  Only Dalmatians, Fox Hounds and a handful of other breeds really get into running.   (Dalmatians prefer it if horses are involved.  Fox Hounds like something smelly to chase.)

Let’s be honest, part of the reason we control dog play is that we sometimes don’t feel too playful  ourselves.  After a day of work, we think we want to go home and sit down.  (ummm… weren’t many of us doing that all day?)

As the video reveals, true dog play is something different from exercise and often extends way beyond puppyhood.  Watch street dogs in Puerto Rico, as one example. Though they are semi-feral foragers, the adults love to play, chasing, tugging, growling and wrestling spontaneously. There is no real fighting, even though the play seems loud and fierce.  After tumbling and rolling about, the dogs get up, shake, and wander off together to find a snack.  Our point is:  dogs love to play throughout their lives.

If your dog has lost her playfulness, it could be because she’s not feeling well or it could be because there’s nobody to play with because YOU, the designated doggy companion, have lost your interest in play.

A playful dog is happy, energetic, flexible, well muscled and relaxed.  A playful dog owner has pretty much the same characteristics. Help your dog stay youthful and happy. Don’t discourage doggy play.  You know it’s good for you too.