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The Science Behind Why Your Dog Loves To Play

What is the most beneficial thing you can do for your dog? Play! We talk about this a lot at Tug-E-Nuff. You may have read our previous articles about the benefits of play or know from your own interactions with your dog that play improves bonding, helps with training and releases pent-up energy. And it’s plenty of fun, too. But exactly why do dogs love to play so much? And what's the science behind play?

Let's take a deep dive into the reasons.

It Feels Good

Even in the wild, dogs play with each other. Play is just too enjoyable for them to resist, even when survival is key. At home, dogs want to play not just for pleasure but to bond with their humans.

And when they do play, they can offer lots of insight into their feelings and behavior. And you’ll uncover some fascinating knowledge in the process.

What Does Bowing Mean?

When a dog bows down, your pup is definitely telling you he’s ready to play. But it might mean even more than that. It’s also a way to communicate that the rough-housing the dog may crave isn’t aggressive, it’s just a part of the fun and games your dog enjoys and thrives on getting.

Rolling Over

How about rolling over? For a long time, people assumed rolling over indicated a submissive stance or the idea that the dog was admitting defeat. But instead, rolling over means your dog wants to keep on playing.

As proof, canine experts have seen that dogs playing in groups together roll over whether they are small and timid or big and strong. Rolling over is just a part of play behavior.

So, the next time your dog rolls over, don’t stop the play, keep on going!

Playing with Others

Based on her research, canine behavior pro Rebecca Sommerville says she’s observed that dogs prefer playing with others rather than alone. Playing with others has a very positive effect on dogs. They’d much rather play with you than alone, making a game of tug or fetch with an interactive training toy like ours much better as well as more fun for them. Interactive play is always what your dog prefers over playing alone with a ball or chew toy.

It’s interesting to observe something else about dogs and play. Although they love to play with others over solo play, they also have their favorites when it comes to play. They’d rather play with a human that they know and love, than another dog or someone they haven’t bonded with. This preference seems to prove the theory that playing with your dog isn’t just fun for him – it improves your relationship with your pup, too.  

According to Sommerville,

“Regular, real play between a dog and owner does not revolve around commands…[it’s] important to strengthen…bond.”

So, if you’re looking to boost the bond with your dog and looking for some new interactive toys to help you do just that, we have a wide selection right here for you to choose from.

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