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It's A Dog's Life -Play Ball!!!



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It’s A Dog’s Life —

Play Ball!!!

By Mary Jane Anderson

Playtime is an essential part of the health and well-being for your dog. Dog owners usually understand that proper food, water, shelter, and medical care is necessary for a healthy dog but do not realize that just short walks with your dog three times a day does not provide the challenge that animals need which they have inherited from their ancestors.

Play is essential for growth and learning for young children and animals as both test their skills and strength with their playmates developing the later skills needed for social bonding in their society. Playing games with your dog will enhance your relationship with your dog. But, the games must be constructive rather than destructive otherwise, your dog will not respect you which will encourage aggression. Such a “game” is a test of dominance. Wrestling, rough-housing, or tug-of-war are used in training an attack dog!!

Playing ball with your dog can be excellent exercise for your dog. Any dog owner who plays catch with their dog on a daily basis know the excitement their dogs show when they say, “Let’s play ball!” The dog anticipates the fun as he runs and jumps around you to go out and start the game.

I remember when my children were  young, going out to play baseball in the backyard, Heidi, our German shepherd, was the outfielder. Since it was a small team of four, Heidi played an important part bringing back the balls that went too far. Heidi looked forward to the games just as much as the children.

Some sort of physical activity, which includes your dog, will make him happier and healthier. Play is good exercise for both body and spirit as well as building and strengthening a loving and lasting friendship with the family.

Pent-up energy is also relieved by play. If your dog does not have any physical activities on a regular basis, he can become frustrated and bored. This can lead to behavioral problems. Therefore, play is almost as important as eating and sleeping for the well-being of a dog.

In play, dogs practice their instinctive skills as the wolves, coyotes, and other animals play with their pack members. The difference, between the wild and domesticated animals, is that you must provide play and recreation for your dog. When you play ball with your dog, he chases and leaps in the air, fine-tuning his body and improving his strength and endurance. This keeps him in physical shape, not overweight and lazy.

If you have more than one dog, a regular-shafting schedule will allow each dog to have it’s own individual attention. Each dog then develops it’s own personality, not just one of the gang. He is special! Time tested games of fetch, jogging, walking and swimming provide a large range of exercise that both you and your dog will enjoy.

In the last few years, backpacking have become a popular outdoor sport. Take your dog hiking and let him carry his own gear! Frisbee is another good exercise for you and your dog to keep in shape. Any dog that can catch a regular sized Frisbee has a chance to compete with others in the competitions offered around the country. Obedience also can be a lot of fun as well as developing a teamwork relationship for competitions year around.

Playing with your dog will make you smile and sometimes even give you a good laugh, as you watch your dog’s antics. After all, isn’t that a great part of the companionship you look for with your dog?

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