3 Valuable Skills Dogs Learn Through Play

I’m sure you’ve already heard this several times before – play should be an important part of your dog’s life. Playing is a great stress reliever for dogs besides helping them to keep fit. When you play with him, it also strengthens the bond between you and your pet. There are several valuable skills that dogs also learn when playing. Do you know them? If you don’t, continue reading to find out:

Play Increases Confidence

Is your dog shy and fearful when in unfamiliar surroundings? Does he hide behind you when you have visitors or other dogs within your home? If so, you need to help him build and boost his self-confidence.

Usually, we tend to focus on what our dogs are doing wrong and punish them whenever they make a mistake. However, what you may not know is that pets look up to us for direction. It is your responsibility as his owner to teach him the right things to do and give him direction.

So, start providing him with fun activities to keep him occupied and entertained throughout the day. Come up with a routine that provides him with a good balance of mental and physical exercises.

The more you play with him using positive reinforcement, the more his confidence will grow. During play, he also gets introduced to new objects and cues, which prepares him to face unfamiliar situations in the future.

Note that it will take a lot of hard work and consistency on your part before your dog can overcome his shyness and build Self-confidence, so be patient with him.

Play Improves Manners

Is your dog extra pushy, jumps on people, or runs straight outside whenever you open the door? If so, you’re not alone. Many dogs have bad manners, even worse than these. But, the good news is that you can teach them to have better manners through play. Playing with your pet is an easy and more effective way to reinforce your dog’s impulse control, which in turn improves their manners.

For instance, you can teach your puppy to stop biting through the game of tug of war. This game will obviously get them excited, and since puppies naturally love to bite, yours might be tempted to bite your hand during the game.

If that happens, stop the game immediately to show him that it’s a bad behavior to bite. It won’t take long before he learns that bad behaviors such as biting have consequences. However, when he plays without his teeth touching your hand, let him win as a reward. This will make the game more exciting and engaging for him.

Play Hones Dog’s Natural Scent Abilities

Finally, you can help your pet hone his natural scent abilities by playing with him any nose work game of your choice. For instance, you can play the 3 container game. Put the containers in front of him and hide a treat inside one of them. It’s okay to let him watch as you do so to enable him to have an idea of what you’re doing.

After that, tell him to find the container with the treat. If he does so, reward and praise him like there’s no tomorrow. With time, you can make the game more challenging for him by shifting the position of the containers to help strengthen his natural abilities.

As you can see above, playing benefits our dogs in many ways including relieving stress and helping them to maintain a healthy weight. They also get to hone their natural scent abilities, improve their manners and boost their confidence. This should motivate you to start playing with your pet more often.