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Playing is not just for kids
Dogs are known as man's best friend, and some people may assume that this is due to the fact that dogs have lived alongside humans as companions, hunting partners and even lap warmers for centuries. However, there could also be something more scientific and concrete behind the tight-knit bonds. Dogs, like humans, are some of the only animals that possess neoteny – meaning that they keep many of their juvenile traits and behaviors as they grow into adults. One of these juvenile traits is the desire to play.
Playing and being active is crucial to a dog's overall happiness, and humans can relate. Well into adulthood people continue to play pick up games of football, basketball and more.
Some breeds however, continue to play for a different reason – they still have the urge to hunt, even though they get their nutritious pet food from their owners. Now, instead of hunting for survival, breeds like Labrador retrievers or English setters exercise hunting techniques during play. If your pooch is always on the prowl, you may want to pick up pet supplies like a Light Weight Loofa Dog Toy or a Lamb Chop Dog Toy that you can show the dog and then hide around the yard for it to find. Hiding treats like Greenies for Dogs or Sweet Potato Rawhide will also keep a hunting dog searching until it finds the treasure.
Playing is also an important aspect of helping raising a social, friendly and happy dog. Puppies in a litter will always play with one another and once they are separated to go to different loving homes, it becomes the owner's job to ensure they get the necessary interaction they need.
Although you may think that you're doing enough by bringing your pooch to the dog park a few days a week, dogs also need a sufficient amount of time engaging in one-on-one play, according to the website.
Like people, dogs need both physical and mental exercise, and throwing a Wing-A-Ball to your dog and having it bring the toy back does exercise its body, though not its mind. To make the game into something that tires both out, make up some new rules.
Train your dog to follow certain tasks during the game. For example, first have the dog sit while you pick up the toy, if it moves or gets up, don't pick it up. Then start again until the dog gets the hang of it. It may take several times for the pooch to get it, so be sure to encourage it during training and reward every time it follows command. You can then add more steps to the game, like making the dog stay by your side until you say it can retrieve the toy.