5 Reasons to Play With Your Dog

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on March 16th, 2021

Whether you have a laid-back older dog or an energetic puppy, there are many benefits to playing with your dog. In fact, all dogs need some form of daily play or playful social interaction to be happy and healthy. 

In this BreezeGuard article, we’re going to cover some of the main reasons why you might want to prioritize playing with your pup. As it turns out, our furry friends aren’t the only ones who can benefit from some daily playtime!

#1: Playing improves your dog’s heart health
You probably already knew that a dog needs daily exercise for a healthy heart. But, when that exercise revolves around play, your pup is in for one fun workout! Consider it this way: you would probably have more fun on a beach vacation, splashing around in the waves with your family, than swimming laps alone at the gym. Similarly, your dog will be more engaged with a fun interactive game than simply being left to wander around the backyard. 

You can learn more about how to make playtime even more athletic by reading our recent article, 4 Creative Ways to Boost Your Dog’s Endurance.

#2: Games are a great boredom buster
The fact is, most dogs were bred to perform some kind of a task. Whether their original job was hunting, sheepherding or even running alongside horse-drawn carriages, dogs are hard-wired to enjoy working.

But, in modern times, most of our dogs live a much more relaxed—and maybe even boring—existence. That means it’s our job to find ways to keep them mentally stimulated.

Games, especially ones that make your pup think, are a good way to ward off the boredom and keep your pup’s brain in tip-top shape. 

#3: Playing can reinforce your dog’s social skills
For some time, there was a rumor in the dog world that playing tug-of-war could lead to your dog feeling superior or dominant. In reality, this kind of interactive play is a good thing! It promotes your dog’s social skills. 

There’s research that suggests that through play, dogs learn how to interact appropriately with the other members of their family group, humans included. On the flip side, puppies who don’t get enough playtime when they’re young can develop more aggressive play patterns when they’re older.

So, if you want your dog to learn about self control and appropriate boundaries, give them some playtime! 

If you’re working on teaching your dog how to play appropriately with humans, make sure to schedule some one-on-one playtime at home. This will allow you to redirect your dog with a firm “no” or “ouch” when they’ve taken the play too far. They’ll quickly learn what is off limits when interacting with people. 

Play with other dogs is equally as important, and you’ll want your dog to play not only with the dogs at your nearest dog park, but also with dogs outside of your pup’s normal friend group. So, load your doggo into the back of your car—fitted with protective BreezeGuard Screens to keep them inside, of course!—and see if you can’t track down some new playmates. 

#4: Playtime is bonding time for you and your dog
Play is one of the best ways for a dog to build trust and friendship with other dogs and humans. So, not only is play fun, but it also allows our dogs to form positive opinions about us. 

Of course, bonding is a two-way street. Playing with our dogs also allows us to learn more about their body language and play behaviors. The trick is to learn some of the key doggy play tactics. The play bow, for instance, is your dog telling you they’re ready to romp. You might reciprocate with a play bow of your own, or a playful lunge towards your dog. In a study of effective play signals, these two were some of the most effective ways to communicate to a dog that it’s playtime! 

Once you’ve tapped into the play bond, you’ll notice an amazing deepening of your relationship with your dog. You might even find your dog more open to training and recall after you start regularly playing with them.

#5: Playing releases dopamine in both dogs and humans
All mammals, dogs and humans included, experience a release of dopamine in the brain when they do something fun. And just like you might make time for meditation or bubble baths for your self care routine, playing with your dog can be a quick way to flood your brain with the happiness hormone. It’s certainly much cheaper than booking a spa day!

Likewise, your pup will benefit from the dopamine-boosting effects of playtime with their favorite human. That’s why, in addition to regular exercise and a healthy diet, playtime can be considered a necessary component for your pup’s overall wellbeing.

Time to schedule some playtime with Fido!
The next time that your pooch interrupts your workflow by dropping a toy in your lap, maybe you can take the opportunity for a playtime break! As we’ve discovered, playing is good for our dog’s brains, health, and friendships. And playing with a dog is pretty good for us humans, too!

For more ideas on how to boost your dog’s health and happiness, stay up-to-date on the latest BreezeGuard blogs!  

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