The Power of Play
Everyday I go to the park I see 1-2 owners playing with their pooches. But most people are glued to their phones
But is it enough? I don’t think so.
They are just not present with their dogs
Sure they are using ball chuckers to launch a ball across the park. And yes the dog sometimes comes running back, happy as can be. But the owners are not really present with their dog.
Their minds are elsewhere. On work, family, cooking dinner, after school clubs. They are not present, in the moment, truly playing and enjoying being with their dogs.
They are not engaging. They’re not really playing. And it really, really matters.
Don’t just go through the motions
Let’s face it. The reason we get a dog in the first place is for company, for walks, to enjoy spending time together, and to get out in the fresh air.
That time, for me, is so precious. It’s our time.
Where the world stops. I don’t have to think about emails, phone calls, or training plans. It’s just me, Rio and George.
Sure, ball chuckers are fun
But do you know what’s even more fun?
Playing WITH mum. Think about it. How much more fun is it when mum gets involved in the arts and crafts than when you just let the kids get on with it?
How much more fun is it when dad plays football with the kids?
It’s WAY more fun than playing alone.
So get playing with your dog.
Race her to the toy.
Let him chase you, dodge out of his way, let him jump up.
Add a little training too
The best thing is, you can incorporate training into this too.
Just by simply asking for a down before throwing the toy.
Get her to stay while you run away.
Build excitement and impulse control while giving cues.
Then some magic happens
The more you play and engage with your dog on a walk, the more he will look to you.
You will find you get more attention.
He will listen to you more.
She will respond to your cues faster, and in more difficult situations.
And most of all, you will finally be able to recall him from another dog.
Now that truly is the magic of play.
So next time you are walking the dog, put the phone away, and just play.
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