Why You Should Play with Your Dog

Learn how to play with your dogDogs are great experimenters and many have a sense of humor. My 12 year old dog Simon had become bored and melancholy – but I discovered a swishy game with a nylon sock that he loves, and so do I!

The trick is learning your dog’s play style and not getting too rough and wound up.

Puppies as well as older dogs need to have FUN through novelty, a variety of experiences, as well as, human and dog play.  The trick is to let the dog experiment. Play can be gentle or active – depending on the dog.

Play is give-and-take and relationship building. It also builds confidence, cooperation and motivation in unruly pups.

Puppy play is vital for puppy brain development and  learning  social skills. Play also:

  • Modifies genes (possibly 1/3 of them!)
  • Builds confidence
  • Forges relationships – be playful and your pup will want to be with you!
  • Reduces depression and fear

PLAY IS GOOD FOR TRAINING: PLAY before, during and after training to keep it fun.

  • Have pup SIT and then run or jump – yipee!
  • Call Fido to Come here and play!
  • When your dog does something good – be silly!
  • Play is a fabulous reward
  • Dog afraid of car? Play in there!

Structured Play are fun games that follow rules. Games such as: Hide and seek, Fetch and Tug of War have their place – but…

Unstructured Play is where you and your dog can get creative. Try a tickle here or a swish there and see what Bowser does! Watch the back and forth give between you and your dog.


  • Keep it fun
  • Stop if dog gets too wound up
  • Dog must be have choice


  • Silly sounds to pique your pups curiosity (kissy, cluck, whistles etc…)
  • Swishy movements with toys
  • Tickle on the nose or belly
  • Play peek-a-boo
  • Lie on floor and make kissy sounds
  • Hide your face and call your dog
  • Keep play gentle & discourage “Rough Play”
  • Got any ideas? Let me know!

INVITE your pup to play and watch her movements. Is she bowing or sneezing or rolling on her back? These are all signs of a dog having fun. Keep experimenting until you hit the jackpot. And when you’re done playing – watch the Jaak Panksepp Video:  THE PRIMAL POWER OF PLAY

Need help teaching your dog to play? Give me a call! 541-601-7601