Since playing is fun, your dog will associate you with positive emotions. Who says games with a dog often says ball throwing. Isn’t it the most classic game ever? We throw the ball, our dog gets it… On the other hand, this game isn’t all that good for your puppy. Here’s why, and what games you could play instead.
1. Why is throwing a ball bad for your dog?
It’s a counterproductive game: it doesn’t bring anything to your relationship. Where is the education in this? At best, it teaches your dog to bring back an object.
2. It teaches your dog that pleasure is far away from the master
This is where it’s mostly counterproductive. We want to enrich our relationship with our dog, not worsen it!
3. Throwing the ball reinforces the predation instinct
Indeed, this game reinforces the chasing instinct, when, generally speaking, we want to suppress it or diminish it. When you get your dog used to chasing a ball, he can then get excited by all sorts of moving things: bikes, cars, runners, etc.
4. No need to tell you how bothering this behaviour can be
Think about people who are scared of dogs!
5. This game creates an intense and uncontrollable excitation
Here’s another big disadvantage: your dog will get excited quickly and intensely. It will be hard to calm him down afterwards, which is bad for his behaviour.
6. Replace ball throwing
Before replacing ball throwing completely, you could choose to introduce two or three elements in the game to make it educative. You could teach your dog how to calm down and channel his energy.
7. Introduce new elements
For instance, make him wait before he chases the ball. Once this step is mastered, ask him to stop mid-run. This way, you will retain control over him and will teach him obedience. Of course, teach everything progressively.
8. Tug of war
Here’s a completely different game. Make your own dog toy using two balls and rope, and invite your dog to pull on one end while you pull on the other. Show him your enthusiasm.
9. Teach self-control
Out of a sudden, tell your dog, “STOP.” The goal is that your dog will be able to self-control and calm as quickly as he got excited to play.
10. Seeking games
Develop your dog’s sense of smell by hiding a toy and making him look for it.
11. Tag, you’re it!
This game encourages both running and practicing a lightning cast recall since it makes coming when called a really fun game. It’s also a great game to play indoor when it’s raining, but you could do it outside. With a partner, each of you gets a pocket full of treats. Start across the room from one another. One person calls the dog and rewards him with a treat, then the next person calls and rewards. Get farther back so that soon you’re calling from different rooms, and then all the way across your home!
12. Keep it interesting
Since we’re training to maximize exercise and minimize food intake, once the game is going and your dog is excited, only reward every other of every third recall and use loads of praise and excitement or a tug toy as a reward for the rest of the time.
13. Call and run away
You can increase the excitement your dog feels playing tag by calling him to you and then start running away. That way, your recall is also a game of chase.
14. Digging Box
If your dog likes to dig but doesn’t know yet he shouldn’t dig your landscaped garden, a digging box would be ideal!
15. How to install a digging box
You can make your own with some wood and sand from your local hardware store. If your dog doesn’t dig right away in it, you can make it a game by burying some of their favourite toys in there, to encourage him to dig them out.
16. Use a flirt pole
This is easy to use and it’s a really good way to quickly tire out your dog. They provide great exercise for your dog but also stimulates them mentally. When playing, let your dog win from time to time, or they won’t want to play anymore. You can DIY this or buy a pole.
17. Your dog may not want to play ball
If a dog carries a ball or toy in his mouth, it does not necessarily mean that he wants to play ball. In fact, it can sometimes mean exactly the opposite. Dogs often bring toys to the people they love so you can play with them too.
They want to show it to you and let you enjoy it too, so instinctively throw away everything your dog brings to you could hurt them.
18. Common behaviour your dog might have : Why your dog eats furniture
If your dog is constantly chewing furniture, whether he is a puppy or not, it means he doesn’t get enough exercise and doesn’t know how to spend his energy otherwise. Walking them may not solve all your problems, but it is a step in the right direction.
It’s usually quite clear when your dog doesn’t exercise enough, and it’s one of the biggest signs. So, if you are tired of your dog destroying your furniture, helping him to be more active should become a priority.
19. Tilt its head to the side
Many people speak louder when they talk to their dog. When you talk to your dog with your “dog voice”, they sometimes lean their heads to the side as if they were trying to listen to what you say.
While this may be true, it does not mean that they react differently because of your voice change. What they are really trying to do is to choose certain words like “treat”, “walk” or “out”.
20. What it means when your dog howls
Although some people may find a dog’s howling particularly unpleasant, they don’t do it just to irritate you. Just as humans feel good when they scream or cry, dogs feel the same when they howl. It is a kind of liberation that helps them to get rid of any internal feelings they may have inside.
While most people assume that dogs howl like wolves to assert their domination, they really do it because it feels good for them!