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Dogs, especially young dogs are very playful by nature.
Play provides them with the opportunity to exercise and also to form bonds with littermates. Where as for a dog that is being kept on his own, his owner will take on the role of a surrogate playmate.
Although young dogs are instinctively most playful, older dogs can be just as enthusiastic to play, right through into old age.
Dogs have a very distinctive way of showing their desire to play, by so-called play-bowing.
The dog will literally bow down on his front legs, which are extended out flat in front of his body, with his body being curved at this stage. It is also quite common for him to start bark excitedly once or twice to attract attention. If he's approached, he is then likely to spring up and run off a short distance, before play-bowing again.
Throwing a ball will bring an immediate response, with him chasing after it and usually bringing it back, so that you can throw the ball again.
Research suggests that medium- sized and large dogs have more highly developed play instincts than their smaller breeds, and show greater eagerness to retrieve items thrown for them.
? Puppies that have recently been separated from their littermates will often chase their tails, or any other imaginary object, showing that they want to play with their owner.
? When dogs have stolen an object, they will learn to give a playful response with when told off.
? Playing is the ideal time to teach puppies' appropriate behavior - stopping play if he jumps up at you, and rewarding him when he returns the toy he's playing with.
? Dogs who don't receive enough exercise will find games to play alone, resulting in biting and destructive behavior in the home.
A wide range of toys are now available for dogs, and it is important to match your dog to the right size of toy that you are choosing.
Balls that are too small can be swallowed.
Always supervise your dog when he's playing with squeaker toys, as he may succeed in removing the squeaker and swallowing it.
Interactive toys, such as balls and flying discs, are an ideal opportunity to exercise, stimulate and bond with your dog.
Dogs enjoy the opportunity to polish up on their predatory skills, enjoying any game that offers the chance to chase, pounce and wrestle their 'prey'.
Dogs will invent their own games too, using objects that they acquire around the home or in the garden, such as plastic flowerpots may be harder to figure out, but they may have been used during teething and give him a feeling of security.
Amy Howells is the owner of a website dedicated to teaching you the short-cuts to dog training.
You can also sign up to a free e-course and discover the astonishing short-cut secrets to dog obedience training
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