why play is important for dogs feature photo of a jack Russell playing with a ball

Why Play is Important for Dogs

Sometimes as Pet Parents, it can be easy to lose ourselves in training, reading the various articles relating to canine health or becoming too focused on daily walks and practising recall that we forget one of the most important things we can do with our dogs. Play!

We all know that play can be incredibly fun and enjoyable, both for ourselves and our dogs, but there are many other benefits to play than just fun. In fact, play is important for dogs as it helps nurture their mental and physical well-being while providing developmental opportunities that training often isn’t able to. 

Recently, we’ve been releasing various DIY Happiness and Brain Games for dogs that our community of Pet Parents have been trying while playing with their dogs. All the games are currently under our happiness category, but they’re also available on our youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClJowKdGu5nwLT4XkT_duq.A

Initially, we started doing these happiness and brain games with the sole purpose of adding a little more fun into our dog’s lives, but we’ve been able to see so many other benefits too. 

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Why Play is Important for Dogs

  • Physical Exercise
    Play provides an excellent opportunity to get your dog up and about and moving outside their daily walks, and it’s perfect for you as well! Moreover, since play can be more unregimented than training or walks, it allows your dog to really let loose, go a little mad and have some fun.
  • Mental Stimulation
    Play doesn’t always have to be running about and going a little crazy, though, sometimes the whole point of play is to figure out a puzzle for a reward at the end, from snuffle mats to puzzle treat balls, to lick mats and so much more. Sometimes play for our dogs is just doing a little activity to make them think and get a tasty treat at the end.
  • Play Can Be Training To
    Games can train your dog without them or us even realising it! Such as playing catch games and the eyes have it where we get our dogs to focus on us.

    Focus means they are more likely to look at us first to make decisions rather than trying to solve issues in their way – such as with barking. Moreover, these games can help on walks and encourage our dogs to look to us to lead the way rather than dragging us to their assumed destination instead.
  • Relieves Boredom and Anxiety
    Play is important for dogs. It is also an excellent way to relieve boredom, stress, and anxiety – just like taking a break does for us hoomans.

    Although we would always be at our dogs’ side in an ideal world and entertaining them, it’s not always possible. So, we set them up to succeed when we are busy by either providing them toys to play by themselves or playing with them until we tire them out and relax without feeling bored or stressed.
  • Improves the Bond Between Yourself and Your Dog
    Whenever you spend some quality time with your dog, no matter what you’re doing, it always enhances the bond between the two of you. Playing with your dog provides quality time for you to spend together and just have fun.
  • Makes Them Happy
    Finally, play is important for dogs because it makes them happy. You’d be surprised by the difference that a few dedicated play sessions can make to improve your dog’s overall mood.
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Essentially, play doesn’t have to be over the top or well planned out in advance; it can be small sessions or long afternoon sessions or in the spare moments. Play is important for dogs in so many ways other than just for fun, and if it makes our dogs happy, that’s more than enough reason to do it regularly.

Do you play with your dog? What are some of your favourite games to play?

Check out other articles detailing the benefits of play for our dogs here:
Puppy Leaks: https://www.puppyleaks.com/importance-play-dogs-revealed/ 
Pedigree: https://www.pedigree.com/dog-care/health/the-serious-benefits-of-play 

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11 months ago

My dog loves to play ‘this little piggy’ – he has a toy in his mouth and I walk my fingers to it in diffrent directions and with each one he gets giddier because he knows the ‘BUT THIS LITTLE PIGGY…’ bit is coming, it usually ends up we me chasing him up the stairs 😀


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