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Why Your Dog Needs Play To Thrive | Benefits of Play for Dogs

Just like cuddles, grooming and the right diet, play is essential for your dog’s wellbeing.

Playing with your dog is an essential part of your lives together –so it’s important to understand exactly why your dog needs play to enjoy a happy, fulfilled life.

Why dogs are programmed to need play

For dogs, the urge to play starts early. Puppies will initiate play with their littermates almost as soon as they are able to move around by themselves.

This is an instinctive behaviour - passed down from wild canines, who used play to learn essential skills, including awareness of their own body and the best techniques for stalking, chasing and grabbing prey.

Of course, for our pet dogs in modern times, play isn’t so much about survival - luckily they have us to ensure they are well fed and taken care of – but it’s still an essential part of your dog’s everyday life.

The benefits of playing with your dog

Puppies play to learn motor coordination, as well as to build confidence and resilience.

At Tug-E-Nuff, we believe that play is so beneficial that it shouldn’t stop when a dog grows up. We’re on a mission to enrich the lives of humans and dogs using the Power of Play.

For adult dogs, the benefits of play are slightly different compared to puppies.

Playing with an adult dog…

  • builds confidence
  • boosts bond
  • is brilliant exercise
  • is mentally stimulating
  • highly motivating (so it can be used as a high value reward during training)

There’s a clear link between play and a dog’s instinctual urges and behaviour. All dogs are different and some have a stronger play drive than others. Often it’s linked to breed, but sometimes it’s just dependent on personality.

Discover what motivates your dog

Take the time to observe your dog and notice what they are naturally interested in and motivated by, and use this to choose the best training toys that will motivate them during play.

For instance, collies are a herding breed that would love to herd sheep all day long. However, if a collie is kept as a pet, that’s obviously not an option. Instead, it’s possible to tap into the urge to chase by choosing a toy like our Sheepskin Chaser, which can act as a safe, enjoyable outlet for a collie’s natural urges.

Scent-driven dogs like beagles and sighthounds, on the other hand, might find a natural, responsibly-sourced rabbit skin toy particularly rewarding and motivating.

Other dogs like to grab, tug and shake things - and channelling this into a toy like the Crazy Thing can stop a dog channelling the behaviour onto inappropriate objects like shoes and sofas.

Next article Why Quality Trumps Quantity When It Comes To Playing With Your Dog