Come On, Let’s Play!
Dogs love to play. They are creative. They play with balls, tug of war, tag, catch Frisbees, play with cats, play with humans, chew, and are successful as show dogs and agility competition. The show dog and agility category can be taught as play and be rewarded with snacks. Playing is an excellent source of exercise. Exercise is good for humans and just as good for dogs. Walks are excellent–you have your choice of speed and Lamp Post Protector distance.
Frisbee playing is an excellent exercise. It involves running, jumping, catching, and includes eye coordination. A 7″ floppy disc with a soft bite is gentle on the mouth. Something like this can also be used for hydration. Also a canvas-rope disk with which your dog can catch and play tug of war is also good. Toys can cover multiple games which contribute to a happy pet.
Balls are fun. They bounce, can be carried, can be crazy balls with angles, can be caught, chased and chewed. An interesting ball to be played with is the behavior cube ball. It has angles in its texture and jumps every which way. Snacks can be placed in this ball and the dog can figure out how to get the snacks out. The ball can be adjusted for difficulty in getting the snacks out. There is not a lot of vigorous exercise involved, but if the cube is adjusted properly he can spend considerable time playing with it. Some dogs like soft cuddle plush balls which can be rolled and mauled. Other dogs like to be aggressive and play rough with their balls–bouncing the balls and catching them and chewing them. The misdirection balls are good for this.
Tug of war is a competitive game. The Rope and Ball toy is good for this. The ropes have fibers which your dog can latch on to firmly with their teeth and pull and pull–complete with growling and tail wagging!
Agility competition is a good game to develop attention span and gives your pet good exercise. Different breeds find the various exercises challenging. A dachsun will find some aspects difficult while a collie will find other exercises more challenging. I have seen many different breeds and sizes competing and have observed that many of the handlers offer snacks as rewards for a job well done. This is true with the dog shows–those dogs are chosen for their markings, build and temperament. The handlers snack their dogs and the dogs expect these snacks.
Some dogs are chewers be it bone, nylabone, rope, rawhide, balls or specific toys with which they have formed a formal relationship. Dogs chew out of boredom or playing. Separation anxiety may take on the guise of destructive chewing and tearing of property. Working with your dog on behavior modification or crating may be necessary.