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Why should you play with your dog?

Playing with your dog in one way or another has so many benefits especially for high prey drive dogs and high energy breeds who may use their energy elsewhere if not given an appropriate outlet. High prey drive breeds like Terriers, working breeds like Spaniels, Shepherds and Labradors and honestly, most breeds benefit from having an outlet like structured play to use their natural prey drive abilities and reduces the chance of unwanted behaviors from developing or becoming more challenging as we are fulfilling their needs in a beneficial way!

1. Relationship building

Playing with your dog is a great way to build relationship and gain both trust and respect for each other! It's about having fun but also doing something together as a team!

2. Teamwork

Games like tug of war, find it and similar games is a great way to work as a partnership and a team rather than simply throwing a ball out over and over again where there is little connection together. You can even do obedience training during your playtime to really do something fun together!

3. Prey drive outlet and fulfillment

For high drive breeds or those with a high prey drive, having set, structured playtime with their owners gives them a great outlet for their natural behaviors and fulfillment that they may find elsewhere if not given a good place to utalise it.

4. Training

Structured play is an amazing way to build on your training in lots of different ways! You can work on obedience like drop, recall off of distractions, heel work around distractions, calmness and impulse control and so much more!


So what kind of play can you introduce into your routine that will tick your dogs boxes?

1. Tug of War

A lot of dogs love playing Tug of War and you can practice lots of obedience whilst playing to develop a lot of skills! During this process you can teach a release command like 'get it' and an 'out' to get them to release the toy. You can teach impulse control by throwing the toy out but asking them to wait until they have been released to go and get it. You can also do some obedience training once you've played a bit to get them to focus on some training after getting a bit hyped up and then you can reward them with play instead of treats as a special reward!

2. Find it

Teaching a find it can be a great way to get a dog to engage their nose instead of their eyes and sniffing is a great way to de-stress and relax anxious or overwhelmed dogs! You can do this with treats or toys depending on what your dog prefers and you can again do some obedience like recalling off of the treats or toy and general obedience as a way to make the session a bit more interesting for both of you!

3. Flirt pole

A flirt pole is basically a fluffy toy attached to a bungee rope on the end of a pole and is a fun way to engage prey drive by getting fast dogs to chase the toy around you! As always you can do obedience during the play session but this kind of toy is great for dogs needing a good run and a way to chase safely!

Why not give one of them a go and see which your dog prefers - bring some fun into your routine and enjoy doing something different with your dog!


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