Dogs love to play. On the one hand, they simply have a lot of fun, on the other hand, they get to know themselves and their counterpart better. Playing is socialisation, is fun and is also physical and mental maximum work for the four-legged friend. The purposeful and above all correct playing between dog owner and dog is bonding, instructive and actually not so easy. Unfortunately many dog owners forget or avoid this so important activity. Sometimes because of lack of time, insecurity, or because of the opinion that consistent dog training cannot be combined with wild frolicking. But: Dog training can only succeed if the four-legged friend trusts his two-legged friend - this trust can be built up best within the common play sessions. To make this a complete success, we have summarized the most important tips for playing correctly with your furry nose in today's blog post.
The golden rule for the dog game
You decide when and in which form the game will be played! A clear hierarchy, in which the dog subordinates itself to humans, is the basis for a peaceful and good living together between two-legged and four-legged friends. Dogs tend to test this social system from time to time. Especially when the cute puppy suddenly turns into a rebellious pubescent animal, your pack leadership will be challenged sooner or later. Also when playing with your darling, it is important to consider and strengthen this hierarchy. By deciding when playtime begins, what it consists of and when the fun ends, your dog will automatically remember who makes the rules.
The different types of dog games
Every dog is different. If you have observed your dog scuffling with other dogs of the same species, a special type of game will emerge, which you should definitely consider when choosing a common game form. Also race-specific differences can be observed. Bulldogs, for example, work with their whole body, long-legged breeds use their snout and paws skilfully, while greyhounds prefer to slip into the role of hunter and hunted.
The tomboy: If your dog is more of a wild spirit, you should keep a little more physical distance when playing. The human is much less robust than the fur-protected body mass of your dog.
Play tip: Targeted interruptions help to show your limits if your pelt-nose was too rough on you. Running and catching games, e.g. with balls or a Frisbee disc, give your wild four-legged friend the workload he needs. But note: Your dog can only become a satisfied and balanced dog if limits and time-outs are set for the wild play.
The dominant: If your dog belongs to the dominant variety, you should above all avoid tugging or physical jostling - these are the equivalent of a test of strength. Show your dog that he is dependent on you: Search games, in which your dog is dependent on your help, are ideal for playful character training.
Play tip:: In the first round, hide a treat in a place easy for your dog to reach. In the next step you hide the treat in a tree, for example, where your four-legged friend cannot reach it, but can see and sniff it. Once your dog has discovered the treat, praise him and help him by taking the treat down for him.
The cautious one: It is possible that your pelt-nose has developed fears and insecurities when playing with other pets - perhaps he is often physically inferior or simply more submissive to others. Show him that you are not made of glass. His caution allows for body-hugging jousting, grappling and frolicking. The gentle nature usually implies that he has accepted you as his leader - this opens up many possibilities for play, such as pulling or racing.
Play tip: Strengthen the self-confidence of your loyal companion by creating a sense of achievement in your play. During retrieval training, you can praise him intensely for every item you bring or find and show him how great you think he is.
The Speedy Gonzales: Running is everything! - if your dog feels the same way, then you should give him enough space and freedom to live out his speed. Usually it is enough to present him a large, wide meadow to awaken his inner Speedy Gonzales. With fast and run-enthusiastic dogs, the bicycle is also very suitable for the walk rounds, because you can increase the speed a little bit.
Play tip: If your dog is trained in the command "Stay", it is easy to let him sit for a while, move far away and then call him to you with the appropriate command. While your dog is waiting, he is already filled with great excitement for the upcoming sprint. If he is allowed to give free rein to this sprint, his joy could not be greater.
The Senior: Unfortunately our animal friends age so much faster than we humans. In large dogs, arthrosis and joint problems are often added to the general age-related decomposition. Even though four-legged friends play significantly less in old age, they too enjoy fun activities and fun time with their two-legged friend.
Play tip: Any form of jumping or abrupt movements should be avoided when playing with an older dog. Loving and light scuffling, retrieving games or hiding games are all the more suitable. Such less intensive forms of play are also suitable for indoors.
"My dog doesn't play"
In general, every dog wants to play with its owner - provided that the dog is healthy. If the dog reacts listlessly or with no motivation to play, you should change the form of play, integrate dog toys or give an incentive with treats. A further measure would be to question your own body language and possibly give clearer signals - for example, you could initiate the play session with a command like "Play". The correct handling of the various dog toys, if you want to use them, is just as important and can open up completely new possibilities for you and your dog. In our next blog post we will deal with exactly this topic: dog toys, their fields of application and the correct use of them. So if you want to learn more valuable information about playing with your animal friend, stay tuned and check back soon.
Und jetzt: Get into your play clothes, go out to the beach/forest/garden, and just play with the dog freely and exuberantly. A little fun and games are also good for us adults.
By Louisa Knoll