Playing with your dog can be more than just a fun pastime. It’s a great way to keep him in shape, it stimulates his intelligence and, if you do it right and follow some simple rules, it’s also a great way to educate him.
One way dogs, like children, learn about the world around them is by playing and having fun. Playing is also a very effective exercise that helps him to sharpen his senses and teaches him how to behave properly with other dogs, as well as with people, especially during the first few years of his life.
There are other benefits too. Our puppies – and let’s be honest, even when they are ten years old they are still our puppies no matter what anyone else says! – can be educated and trained while they play. Here are some of the basic things you can teach your puppy while you have fun with him:
- Don’t bite hands. Puppies need to learn at an early age that hands are not objects to be chewed, otherwise they’ll do it with all hands, including those of children. A sharp “NO” at the right time should teach him not to chew hands. The same thing goes for any other objects – shoes, stuffed animals: when he chews on the wrong things, tell him NO, and then provide him with something he CAN chew on, like a toy bone.
- Gentle play. When you are physically playing with the dog, or playing tug of war, you must maintain control over the situation. The dog needs to learn to always be gentle and to stop whatever he is doing when you tell him to. If he gets too excited, stop the activity for a moment until he calms down.
- His owner is his point of reference. We are the dog’s guide and boss at all times. In order to keep his focus on us and not let him get wild with excitement as he plays, we should periodically call out some command he has already learned, like SIT. This way he knows who is in control and that, after he obeys, he can continue playing.
- Don’t leave toys lying about. When playtime is over, the toys you used – balls, ropes and anything else that implies that you are there to play with him – should be removed. Playing should be enjoyed as educational and fun time together. If the toy is left around, the dog will lose interest in it.
- …unless they are interactive games. Games that stimulate intelligence, like toys that contain a treat, can be left around so that the dog can engage in mental activity on his own. He’ll think long and hard trying to figure out how to reach the treat inside, and he’ll spend a lot of time doing it. These are great toys to let him have fun with when he’s home alone.
Remember, to ensure that good behaviour becomes the norm, you should always reward him: a yummy treat, a cuddle or a heartfelt “good boy” (or girl) is always appreciated. These tips help ensure that playing with your dog can be great fun, but also an educational activity, and we all know that you learn faster if you’re having fun! Rex will learn to distinguish between chewable and non-chewable items, he’ll learn to consider you the boss and to be gentle during play, when it’s time to eat or go for a walk.
What it comes down to is choosing the right toys for your dog, ones that are safe and comply with health regulations, that is, made of materials that have been proven safe and toxin-free. But then, with Ferplast, you know you don’t have to worry about a thing!