You recently bought a dog, and now you don’t know how to get the dog to interact with you. At first, you were not bothered because what was the worst thing that could happen. You get surprised when your dog constantly barks at you or your visitors, maybe the dog eats your shoes, or it becomes attention-seeking or even aggressive.
Here is why you should learn to interact and play with your dog:
- Playing with your dog strengthens the bond between you and the dog. At first, you have to be involved in the play; how else would you get the dog to play without teaching it?
- Daily walks and exercise are necessary for dogs to help them release pent-up energy.
- Dogs are social animals, making play one of the best ways to teach and communicate with them.
- You help avoid your dog from getting into trouble, like eating a visitor’s shoe when you interact with them.
- Playing increases the quality of your dog’s life because it is much more fun to play than to sit around with nothing to do.
What does your dog like to play with?
You can choose to experiment by taking notes of the things that get your dog excited. If you have no idea where to start, you have nothing much to worry about. We have a few suggestions of engaging activities to try out with your dog, and they are:
Dog toys are a great way to get started. To introduce your dog to toys, bring it to watch you while playing with a toy and then leave the toy lying around. Your dog will excitedly start sniffing the toy and play with it in the same manner you did. You should make a selection of toys based on the season, age of the dog, and the type of materials the toy is made of (it has to be suitable for the play). For example:
- Use dog toys for summer during summer.
- Use dog toys made of rubber for play that requires intense grabbing with teeth.
- If you have a newborn puppy, you should consider getting newborn puppy toys.
Pet toys are also essential in games, which means they are multipurpose. We would further discuss games and toys later, but for now, know that games are primarily divided into four categories, and they are:
- Hide and seek
- Tug of war
- Chase and retrieve: ‘Pet Life ‘denta-toss‘ frisbee fetch and chew waterproof floating dog toy’ can be used for this kind of game.
- Pounce and shake: ‘Pet Life 2-piece dual squeaker and plush animal dog toy set’ is an excellent example of the toys suitable for this category of play.
The processes involved to get your dogs to play
If you have just gotten a new dog, then you must exercise a lot of patience. Another problem you may face when getting the dog to play is that your dog is anti-social. Anti-social in the sense that it may never have learned to play. Another reason why your dog may haven’t opened up to you is that it doesn’t know you. You can start slowly by introducing the dogs to toys and then using the toys to teach the dog how to play games.
To achieve your aim, the first step is to create a space or a room that provides an area for playing. It is advisable to have one dog in the room at a time; you can also imitate the dog by positioning yourself to the ground and using an exciting tone of voice to get your dog ready and pumped up. The atmosphere is now set; it is time to introduce the toy. Hold the toy like it is extraordinary and delicate; make sure you pull the toy away.
Make the dog wander and desire for this particular item that its owner isn’t willing to share. Turn away from the dog to peek at its interest; at some point, you can leave the toy and snatch it back. Your dog is probably eager to compete for the toy by now; the next time you drop the toy and your dog goes for it, you can have an exciting game of tug of war or chase and retrieve. You can involve a dog treat if your dog is less enthusiastic about the entire play or to get it more excited.
Rules in playing
- Don’t force your dog into playing.
- Use a safe space for play to avoid you or your dog coming in contact with sharp objects or your dog causing harm.
- Ensure the toys are made of rigid materials ( i.e., dog toys made of rubber) that won’t be easily chewed and swallowed by your dog.
- Use a tone with excitement, and don’t forget always to praise your dog.
- Have maximum fun.
7 Best ways to get your dog to play
We have learned of the two basic ways to engage your dog (i.e., toys and games), we have further broken them down into seven exciting ways.
1. Tug of war
Many dog owners are scared that the dog might become aggressive playing this game, but here is a little trick. Allow your dog to win multiple times; it will keep them excited, more confident, and obedient. Tug of war is a tremendous physical and mental exercise for your dog; why avoid it when you can control the situation. The choice of toys are dog toys made of rubber and have a knotted rope along with them. All you have to do is teach your dog the basic rules to have a successful game. Examples of the rules are:
- You should stop the game when the dog’s teeth come in contact with your hand.
- Intense growling and tail wagging signals for you to take a break.
An example of an excellent toy for tug of war is the ‘Pet Life rubberized chew jute rope and tire pet dog toy.’
2. Teach your dog the names of the toys
You should consider the dog’s size, age, and agility before picking out the toys. Your toy choice should make it easy for your dog to pick up its toys with its teeth.
Start with one toy, engage with your dog, and constantly repeat the toy’s name. Repeat for the rest of the toys, then test your dog’s knowledge by asking it to fetch. You should choose one of the Pet Life dual squeaker and plush animal dog toy sets, which includes newborn puppy toys and toys for parent dogs too.
3. Teach your dog to fetch the toys
This play is popularly known as ‘chase and retrieve.’ The game is complete when your dog goes after the toy and brings it back to you. So how do you get your dog to bring the toy back to you? We talked about adding food to the game earlier to get your dog to be more enthusiastic. Teaching your dog to fetch might include a tactic where you have to use food to get the dog. Here is the breakdown:
- Firstly, you will constantly throw the pet toy a few feet from your dog. You already introduced your dog to the toys and given it a name so that it will pick it up.
- Next step, you show the dog you have food in your hands but walk in the opposite direction away from the dog. The dog follows you and indicates that it hands you over the toy and gets the treat. Repeat this until your dog finally understands.
- The third step is to throw a toy with a name and tell it to fetch the toy for you, and it gets the treat again. Rinse and repeat. You might need to exercise patience; your dog might not quickly grab what you are teaching it.
You can choose a dog toy for summer, or winter depending on the season. Most importantly, since your dog would do a lot of chewing, your choice should be a dog toy made from rubber. Examples of toys to use for fetch include:
- ‘Pet Life ‘denta-toss‘ frisbee fetch and chew waterproof floating dog toy.’
- ‘Pet Life ‘denta-bark’ sporty durable, flexible toss and fetch frisbee oral hygiene pet dog toy.’
4. Find the treats
It is time to learn how to use their sense of smell to ‘find the treat.’ You want your dog to become an expert at finding just about anything.
Here is how the game works:
- You can start with one specific dog treat just to train your dog to catch its smell.
- Dangle the food in its face to give it some form of mental stimulation. Allow your dog to be in the room while you hide the treat. Hide the toy somewhere that it is easy to find.
- Command your dog to find the treat. Don’t forget to praise your dog when it finds it; this would encourage it to keep playing. Repeat!
- Increase the difficulty level by hiding it in another room. That is how you keep it challenged and improve its nose work skill.
5. Teach your dog to play the shell game
You must have played the game with your family or friends in the past, but the catch mostly would have been money. This time, you are playing with your dog; what does your dog need money for? There is a little twist to the game when playing with your dog, so learn how to play the shell game before you start playing.
To play the game, allow your dog to watch as you place the treat underneath one of the clay pots. Your dog is probably already excited by now. Start shuffling the clay pot and ask your dog to pick the one with the treat. If your dog gets it correctly, you should reward it with a treat and praise it. It is advisable to have taught your dog how to play ‘find the treats’ first so that your dog wins many dog treats.
6. Hide and seek
Here is another proof that you don’t need rocket science to get your dog engaged. Your dog would need a sense of smell and direction to find you by itself. You might need a friend or someone to stay with your dog while you hide in a familiar room or place. At this level, you should hide somewhere it is simple to find you, behind the sofa or beside the fridge.
After you have found a spot to hide, you can now call out the name of your dog. Your dog might not fully understand that it is a game yet, but when it finds you, and you give it a treat, it would associate finding you with pleasure. Don’t forget to look excited when it finds you. The next step is to increase the challenge level, hide somewhere it would not easily find you.
7. Get your dog active toys
Whether you are a student or an employee, or a business owner, you will not always be around your dog. You can always have someone monitor your dog for you, but during that period, your dog might get bored, so you should get it a toy that it can play with or without you. Some active toys are usually made with hard rubber or thick knotted rope that your dog can always carry around with it.
Your dog plays with it by throwing the toy in the air and catching it with its teeth, so it has to be monitored. Once your dog destroys the toy with its teeth, you must discard it to prevent choking hazards. Your dog can also play pounce and shake with squeaky toys. Your dog throws the toy into the atmosphere, pounces on them, and shakes them off until the squeak is removed.
Examples of active dog toys for summer are:
- Pet Life ‘pull away’ all-natural jute rope and tennis ball dog toys’ —which are excellent for building and strengthening the neck and shoulder muscles during play.
- Pet life ‘durq-chew’ plush animal nylon squeaker dog toy —to play pounce and shake.
- Pet Life animated extra-long nylon squeaker water-resistant plush dog toy.
What is your favorite game to play with your dog? What new thing did you learn from this article, and which one would you first try out with your dog?