Why Play is good for you – Part 1
Play is about FUN! So many people treat play as an exercise, it’s not an exercise its PLAY! So lose yourself, go wild, lower or lose your inhibitions, get silly, go wild, get on your hands and knees, play hide and seek, run and dance and lose yourself like no one is watching!
2. It’s gotta be a FUN time not a LONG time!
So how long should a play session be? Well how long is too long? What’s a good time? How long is a piece of string? Play is something that is fast and fun, remember it doesn’t need to be a duration thing, short and sweet and engaged is the key to success! You need to keep the engagement up and remember that 30 seconds of pure bliss is better than 2 minutes of average energy! Don’t time your sessions rigidly but do keep an eye on them and always try to keep them spontaneous! Spontaneity is super for creating more awesomeness!
3. LOWER the pressure!
So many people pressure play, stress it out and in ways that you are not even aware sometimes! Give your dog easy wins, let them lead the game, dance with your dog, try to make it action packed but not over facing, now that’s a fine art and a balancing act! If your dog doesn’t want to play then give him some down time and chill. Try again later, and adapt the arousal to suit but don’t over pressure and don’t stress yourself or your dog out trying to make it happen. It really needs to feel good. I have learnt this most of all with my cocker spaniels who are not chase driven, they need to be in the mood!
4. Let your relationship grow with trust!
We want to build big hearts and unbreakable bonds through relationship and trust. Make the game or the chase challenging but achievable for your dog, look after them in the game and make sure that you are in it together. Neither of you are winning or losing you are enjoying spending some good time together. Make sure you play safely and fairly and look after that element of trust between you!
5. Stay on task….
Remember animation and activation action in all things play! Stay engaging and stay on task, with play you need to become the creator and the innovator of the game and when you are playing give your dog all of yourself. For example sometimes I’m playing around the competition arena with one of my dogs and someone will come up to me with questions or friendly things to say, but I politely let them know I’m busy and will catch up with them really soon! Try to give your dog your time, after all he is giving you his. And you are building up that trust step by step!
Stay tuned for five more steps on ‘Play’ next Tuesday!
About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.