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Playing a game like tug or fetch may not seem to you like a mentally-stimulating, enriching activity. To your dog, though, games open a world of experiences that add color and depth to their physical and mental exercise. Here’s why:
Play develops your bond.
Dogs evolved to partner with humans. It’s part of their nature to want to work with us. Most pet dogs don’t have jobs to perform alongside their human anymore, so games ignite and fulfill that desire to be your right-hand, er, paw.
Play provides stimulation.
While you’re enjoying your time together, you’re also stretching your dog’s mental muscles. Teaching your dog a new game or playing a range of different games keeps their minds fit – which is so important to having a healthy dog.
Play burns energy.
Most dogs spend the majority of their day alone, waiting for you to get home from work or school. By the time you’re home, all that pent-up energy needs to be expended and playing a raucous game of catch, fetch, tug, tag, backyard agility, whatever strikes your fancy burns off that energy.
Finally, playing games is just plain fun!
And dogs love to have fun, especially when their favorite person is the one playing with them!
Exercise is healthy for dogs physically, but it’s also a crucial element in their mental health and wellbeing. Combining some physical activity with the mental and bond-building workout that comes from playing a game together provides your dog with an enriching experience that will make her a happier, balanced pup!