Your dog is your best friend, and playing with him is a way to strengthen that bond between you. Plus, it’s loads of fun and can be extremely entertaining. But what you may not know is that playtime isn’t just fun time, and there are several additional benefits to playing with your dog.
1. Alleviates Boredom
Dogs don’t enjoy lying around doing anything all day long. In fact, most dogs can’t wait for their owners to come home from work or school and greet them enthusiastically in the hopes that they might get some playtime. Your dog appreciates any interaction with you, but playtime is the best way to alleviate Boredom.
Keep in mind that a bored dog will get up to mischief. So if your dog is chewing on the furniture or anything he can get his mouth on, he can definitely benefit from some extra playtime. Escape artists often also suffer from extreme Boredom and are simply running away because it is something to do and it’s fun.
Just like babies and young children, dogs learn much more from playtime than formal training can teach them. They learn exactly where the boundary between fun and seriousness starts and ends. Dogs also learn when they may be hurting their owner and when to stop. Play is also an opportunity for your dog to learn that there are rules that need to be followed. These rules don’t only apply to the game being played but also to their overall behavior and what is expected of them.
For example, if you are playing tug-of-war with a toy and your dog gets a little too close to biting your hand or accidentally bites, stop the game immediately. The dog will quickly learn that you don’t like that behavior, and if he wants to play the game, he needs to be careful not to overstep those boundaries.
Play is a great exercise for dogs, especially dogs that don’t enjoy going for walks or are confined to an apartment or small living area. If your dog is overweight, it is much easier to interest him in a game of fetch than to drag him along on a leash.
He will get plenty of exercises and will shed those extra pounds much faster in conjunction with a diet plan. A fit dog at their ideal weight is happier and healthier overall.
4. Stress Relief
Just like humans, dogs are exposed to stress every day of their lives. And just like humans, they need an outlet to alleviate that stress. In fact, dogs are far more prone to stress than most humans and often have difficulty coping. A dog that won’t stop barking is shy or skittish is showing signs of stress. Playing with a dog has been found to help alleviate their stress and, in turn, has a calming and relaxing effect on the human.
Dog owners who play with their dogs for just five minutes a day have been found to have reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
What better way to end a stressful day at work than spending some playtime with your best friend?
5. Mental Stimulation
Our dogs are far more intelligent than most people give them credit for. They love to learn new tricks and to be challenged. What better way to do that than to provide mental stimulation through play. Be inventive with your games and toys for pit bulls with new activities to keep his mind active. Not all playtime with your dog requires a physical expenditure of energy.
That said, some rules need to be applied to playtime in order for you and your dog to get the greatest benefit:
- Don’t overdo it. Set a routine and play with your dog at the same time every day. This will prevent them from beginning to treat you like a toy and think that it’s playtime every time they see you.
- Firm rules and discipline should form part of playtime. Make sure that your dog is learning those boundaries, where the line has been drawn, and when to stop.
Remember that playtime is supposed to be fun, so don’t go overboard with the play’s learning and discipline aspect.