Playful pooch


Canines really look forward to spending quality time with their family and few things can make them happier than loving attention from their parents. Engage your best friend in these fabulous playful activities and watch your relationship bloom.

Fun and games are as crucial to a pooch’s well being as is nutritious and healthy food. Like us, our canine friends do not have any alternative source of entertainment and recreation like television, music and books. For them, playtime is the only time when they can let their hair down and bark away their boredom. It may not seem so, but most pooches lead a rather mundane existence while their parents are away at work or are juggling with the demands of routine life.

Playing interactive games gives owners an opportunity to bond with their pets and know them better. It also helps in releasing pent-up energy in hyperactive dogs and makes for a great fitness workout. Moreover, it has been observed that pooches who get adequate playtime are far less likely to develop emotional disorders and behavioural problems. Since dogs are at their attentive best during play activities, owners can easily train their dogs in tricks and obedience during this time without it seeming like a chore for both parties. That certainly gives us enough reason to roll in the grass with our best buds, doesn’t it?

Every breed has their own characteristic temperaments, personality traits and physical attributes. A pooch will be able to derive maximum benefit from games and play activities if they are customized to suit his age, breed and physical abilities. Here are some playful activities to keep your pooch happy and stimulated:

Fetching can be a good pastime as well as a great way to bond with your pet. You can train your pet to fetch his toys and then fetch other things for you. Get your pet’s attention by teasing him with the toy you want him to fetch. When he is attracted towards it, throw it at a distance. When he picks it up, encourage him to come back to you. Praise him and gradually teach him to give it back to you or drop it near you. You can teach him to drop by giving him another toy or treat. When he gives the toy back to you, reward him with a praise or treat.

Hide and Seek:
We all have played hide and seek as kids. How about getting your pooch to join in? Hide and Seek is fun to play with puppies, it teaches them to respond to your call and also boosts their tracking skills. Begin by calling out your dog’s name from a distance and encourage her when she comes to you. Show a lot of excitement and reward her with heavy petting and lot of affection. Gradually increase the difficulty level by hiding behind doors or even outdoors and call out your pooch’s name. Most dogs will use their keen sense of smell to sniff you out. Dogs of all breeds and ages can play this game.

Tug of War:
We all must have played tug of war at some time or the other. How about playing it with your canine? Take a rope toy without any frayed ends. Your dog can hold one side with his teeth while you can hold the other end with your hands. Start the game of tug of war. Stop the game if your dog’s teeth touches your hand or you see any aggressive behaviour. Distract him with another toy. It helps the dog release all the pent up energies and gives parents ample opportunity to teach the dog to obey certain commands like ‘tug’, ‘stop’ and ‘leave’. Always make sure to play the tugging game with a neutral object like a toy or an old scarf rather than any personal belongings that the dog might be tempted to mess with later. The game is fun only so long as it is played in a controlled and disciplined manner. Basic obedience training is recommended before getting on with tugging games to discourage agitation and aggressive behaviour.

Treasure Hunt:
Dogs love to play, especially if there is a yummy treat waiting at the other end! Treasure Hunts encourage the dogs to put their sense of smell to good use and practice their tracking and searching abilities. Begin by placing a small treat at a small distance (a piece of dog-biscuit or a sausage will do) and encourage your pooch to go get it. Next show her and hide the treat. Encourage her to find the treat and lavish her with praise and excitement when she does so. You can then take her out of the room and put the treat in the same place and ask her to find it. Follow the process above to hide the treat at new locations. Then without showing her you can switch locations and let her nose do the work. Eventually hide the treats at hard-to-reach spots like under the couch, behind doors and on windowsills where the dog cannot see them. Your dog will be compelled to sniff them out!

Dogs love outdoors and will love to play Frisbee. This game is a variation of ‘Fetch’ except that it requires more agility and stamina. Get the dog interested in the Frisbee and encourage him to ‘fetch it’ when you roll it on the floor. Keep increasing the distance as well as the difficulty levels. Gradually, your dog will be able to leap and catch the Frisbee in mid-air with a bit of practice. Always be patient and show a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.