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Episode 6 of 12

Advice on your dog’s playtime

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Nothing brings dog parents quite as much joy as watching our canine companions play. Play is not only heart-warming, but it’s also a critical aspect of a dog’s life.

Dogs need play to burn off energy, socialize with other dogs, and form a closer bond with you, the parent.

Below are a few pointers on how you can play better with your dog and how your dog can learn to play with others.

What does healthy play look like?

Playing with your dog should be fun for you and your dog. You can incorporate toys that can be used for a game of Hide ‘n Seek, Fetch, or Tug.

Other types of play can include treat balls and dog sports like agility or flyball. A question I often get is: when it comes to interacting with other dogs, what does healthy play look like?

As a puppy, playing with their siblings or other dogs helps teach them communication skills and self-control. Signals dogs show that they are ready to play include bowing, slapping their front feet, or playing chase. Their body language should be calm and happy.

When to step in

As we all know, dog play can be rough, which leaves dog parents confused as to when we should we step in…

Any time a dog starts to display that they are not comfortable, or if they show warning signs of aggression, the dogs should be separated. Such signs include raising their hackles, stiffness with growling, or lunging. If you see this, it’s ready for a time out, and you should not allow those dogs to play any further.

When playtime is over

Some dogs seem like they can never run out of energy, which makes it hard to decide on how much playtime should be allocated. When is playtime over?

Depending on the age of the dog, playtime should happen at least once or twice a day. The length of play is not as important as is the quality of time bonding with your dog, and making sure to give them time to relax with another furry friend.