Playtime is essential for any dog. Many owners still confuse playtime with simply taking their dogs for a walk, but playtime is actually off-leash exercise. This does not include running or jogging alongside an owner.
Dogs need to be given time and the freedom to explore in a safe environment. If your dog knows basic commands such as sit, stay and comes to you on command, off-leash playtime will be easy.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
Different dogs prefer different activities during their playtime so you will need to observe your dog to get an idea of what he likes. Some dogs love socialising and playing with other dogs, while others may prefer retrieving Frisbees or tennis balls.
Older dogs may prefer to simply walk around and investigate the area.
Swimming is also a good way for your dog to exercise and a day at the beach can be lots of fun for you and your dog. However, not all breeds of dogs like swimming, so do not try to force your dog to swim if he shows signs of unwillingness. This will worsen his fear of water.
Great Stress Reliever
Keep a time limit for every play session, or else playtime will lose its appeal. Puppies should not be over-exercised as their bodies are still developing. Remember to end every playtime on a positive note by praising your dog.
Dogs that have sufficient playtime and exercise are less likely to become bored and start exhibiting bad behaviour around the house. Playtime can also be extremely beneficial mentally and physically for owners as well, as it relieves stress and requires owners to exercise as well.
The more time you spend with your dog, the more you will be able to understand and appreciate him.
*This article was updated on 11 Sept 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com.sg on 29 Aug 2015.