You were just about to pop a pile of dirty clothes into the washing machine or clean out the garage or run out to the supermarket … or do any of the other who-knows-how-many routine tasks necessary to maintain a 21st century life. The last thing you think you have time for is to play with the dog who’s sitting in front of you right now, a ball in his mouth, looking up at you expectantly.
But before you choose chores over a play break with your four-legged friend, consider the benefits of opting for playtime instead. Play is good for your dog — and for your relationship with him. Heres why:
Play builds communication skills. Play allows you and your dog to learn how the other communicates — how they move and what they do, explains veterinary behaviorist Terry Curtis, DVM of the University of Florida in Gainesville. For example, a person learns that when a dog extends his front paws forward and raises his rump into the air, he’s inviting that person to play. At the same time, play gives the human the opportunity to teach the dog what’s appropriate, Curtis adds.
*Pick up this month’s issue of Dog Fancy for the full story.