Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The importance of play for dogs.

Sorry I have been a little slow in posting to this blog the last couple of days. I have a really bad sinus/ upper respiratory infection.  I went to the Doctor for the second time today. Hopefully the medication I got will begin working soon!

Well, Copper has been feeling much more like a puppy lately. As some of you may remember, He was recently diagnosed with a thyroid problem. Since he has been on the medication, he has much more energy and gets in moods where he really wants to play! Of course he is still a Beagle so he still does his fair share of napping :).

In the above pictures, we see a happy Copper chasing after some sort of tree bound creature (likely a squirrel). These were taken yesterday, by the lovely Shane, while I was taking a nap (as a result of feeling sort of crappy).

This made me start thinking about how important play is for dogs. It really brings a balance to them.  What Copper is engaging in here is instinctual, natural play. He also likes to run chipmunks out of their holes. I really do enjoy watching him do this and it is good for him. It keeps his mind active.

I always try to make a point of telling my students that it is really important that a dog have time for play. It is not just for puppies. It is for adult dogs too! You have to exercise much more caution bringing adult dogs together to play with each other. If the dogs don't live together, I am not a real advocate of forcing them to play together.

You see, the play is not merely for socialization. It is also to work the minds of the dogs. When Copper chases squirrels, chipmunks, or rabbits, it is fun for him and it works his mind.

For retrievers it may be playing fetch or chasing birds. For terriers it may be digging up toys or chasing rats or chipmunks. It will not take long to determine what your dog naturally likes to do to play.

A note here: Believe it or not, not all dogs enjoy playing with toys. Don't let this discourage you. I have two dogs in my pack that do not enjoy toys. Neither Copper nor Cuddles will play with toys. Copper will eat the frozen peanut butter out of a Kong toy but, when the peanut butter is gone so is his interest in the Kong. While this is uncommon, it is not unheard of. So, do not fret if your dog doesn't like toys. There are still natural ways in which he/she can play.

I write this to encourage you to  let your dogs play from time to time. It is good for them and it is alot of fun to watch !

I am really getting tired here, think I will take another nap and let the medication work.

I will write a more in-depth post on play later.

Remember, play with the dog!

Till next time


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