Part 2: Why Play Is So Important For Your Older Dog!
When our old cocker spaniel, Cotton, got old, I noticed that he was less interested in his old toys and the games he used to love to play. You may have noticed this with your old dog as well. But you know what, if I got down on the floor with an old favorite toy and started up one of his favorite games, like tug of war, he was all of a sudden back to being a puppy! He seemed energized and ready to play…and had a happy look on his face.
I think that sometimes we, as owners, are the ones to blame for them not playing. They don’t initiate it, so we assume they aren’t interested. But half the fun is having you involved in the play and your attention, especially if you are down on their level.
Studies have shown that dogs that don’t engage in a lot of play suffer from behavioral issues such as anxiety or aggression. Less playtime can also lead to an increase in whining, jumping up, and not coming when called.
Finding a game that Cotton could enjoy and play despite his physical condition, required that I do several of the following things:
- I got down on the floor – at his level – so that he could see me, hear me and have contact with me easily.
- I created games that were mentally challenging, but also fun. For example, we played,
- “Guess which hand the treat is in?” (A big favorite!)
- “Hide and seek” –find the treat (another big favorite)
- “New Trick Day” – they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but even if you don’t master the trick, the process of learning is the fun part!
- “Tug of War” – a tennis ball stuffed in an old sock is an all-time favorite with any dog!
- “How Smart Are You?” – make your dog work for his treats! Make them go through their list of “tricks” before giving them a snack.
- “Beauty Shop” – is also a fun game for you and your dog –nothing better than a full body massage, a hair brushing and maybe even nail trimming, ear inspection and teeth brushing to keep them happy and healthy – and of course, lots of snacks.
Playing with your older dog will benefit your dog, but also you!
It’s healthy, provides a great workout, relieves stress and is a nice mental break for you and keeps your dog mentally stimulated.
Bottom-line, they will feed off your energy. If you treat them like an old dog, they will be an old dog. But if you treat them as you always have, they will meet your expectations.
So Don’t Stop Playing With Your Dog!!! It’s good for you and good for them!
And if they are on Get Up & Go tablets, they will feel better and be ready to play. If your Get Up & Go supply is low, don’t forget to order by calling 1800 33 88 22 or at our website getupandgodog.com.au