One of the most fundamental elements of being a dog is having dog to dog play time. Playing with their own kind is as essential to their beings as is food. Without it they become difficult to live with.
We have domesticated dogs but we haven’t and cannot take away their instinctive nature. Running, chasing, biting or just hanging with an old pal is what feeds our dogs souls. Dogs are born in a litter. They are by nature meant to be with other beings, so when we get a dog as a sole pet, we must take care to meet their needs by making sure we let them be with their own kind.
Today, we are so busy with our own lives, we barely make sure that we are taking a deep breath to refresh our own basic need to connect with our friends and family, unfortunately, we are neglecting to make sure our dogs get their dog – dog play time in, as well. If you are struggling with issues like pulling on the leash, being too mouthy, aggression, destructive chewing, counter surfing, etc. you are not alone. Studies show that dogs need to play much more than we are offering it to them. Play is essential to their happiness and mental well being. Increased play time leads to less behavioral issues. I would bet you that if you gave your dog, doggie playtime on a daily basis you would see a different dog. A playdate once or even twice a week isn’t sufficient for a dog under 2 years of age and some older dogs need more as well.
Dogs are individuals too, with some needing more training, exercise and play dates than others, but ALL dogs need to be/play with their own kind more often that we are offering them. Supervised doggie day care centers, dog walkers and dog parks have come into being when we became a two income family and were too busy to meet our dogs needs. To be our dogs best advocate, we need to step up to the plate by making sure that our dogs are getting the dog – dog time they so desperately need.
This is evidenced by the sheer numbers of dog trainers like myself, getting calls to help train unruly dogs. The irony in all of this is that as we get busier and busier with our lives, we are wanting to truly stay connected to what’s really important to us, yet we are failing to find this time. Dogs have always been available to fill us up with unconditional love, yet it’s this very nature that is being ignored. While I truly thank you for reading my blogs, I will ask that right now, you leave your computer and look your best friend in the eye and make plans for more 3 play dates this week and every week thereafter.
You’ll both be glad you did.
About the author: Jill Breitner, is a professional dog trainer and dog body language expert loving and living her life on the west coast of the USA. She is the author of Dog Decoder, a smartphone app about dog body language recommended and used by veterinarians, shelters, trainers, educators and guardians worldwide. It’s available in iTunes and Google play. Jill has been teaching gentle handling/basic husbandry skills to clients and their dogs for 40 years, to be your pets advocate for a happier and stress free life. She also does online dog training, worldwide. Join Jill on her Dog Decoder Facebook page