Animal Welfare, Cats, Dogs, Pet Adoption, Pet Care, Worldwide

How Dogs Play

german shepherd dog

How Dogs play is a life lesson the human race misplaced. Our obsession with societal norms, institutions and rules means that we’ve forgotten the importance of play. A single minded pursuit of pro generation of the species and securing a place for ourselves in society has churned out a population of “mini me’s”. Unfortunately, they’re molded by short sighted “monster me’s” and the next generation is completely unprepared to take charge of their lives and the world.

How dogs play is how children used to play. Free, fearlessly and with abandon.

How dogs play, is at the core of why humans depend heavily on canines. We seek a dogs counsel and approval, through experts on a dogs mind, and “how dogs work”. Enrolling in courses and classes and seek to learn how dogs raise their young. Humans pursue a study of canine behaviour and their techniques of raising their infants. Because we recognise successful child rearing techniques. To replicate their techniques with human infants would make humans a successful species.

Child rearing is replaced by a technology driven obsession to prepare children for the future at the cost of denying them a present. The single minded obsession to brainwash a generation into believing they can “have anything they want.” No one can unless they work for it, fail, pick themselves up and get back to work.

“This lack of outdoor play may promote a sedentary lifestyle with play restricted to electronic devices and solitary play [11, 14], suggesting that children may be becoming ‘nature deficient’, failing to develop a personal connection to the natural world [1517].”

The impacts of unstructured nature play on health in early childhood development: A systematic review.
Kylie A. Dankiw , Margarita D. Tsiros, Katherine L. Baldock, Saravana Kumar

Play with your kids more, and spend more time playing like dogs. Unsupervised, they’ll learn through the scrapes and cuts, the importance of giving in and standing your ground. Children learn the art of rolling in mud and dusting themselves off only to retry when they spend time playing like dogs.

The health benefits for children who grow up with animals is a well documented fact. They have better immune systems, lesser incidences of allergies and benefit mentally. A study at John Hopkins suggests early exposure to dogs may help prevent developing schizophrenia later in life.

Fact or not, let your children grow up with a dog in the house, it teaches commitment, responsibility and sacrifice through doing rather than learning.

Mental wellness is bolstered by a strong body. By that we do not mean brute strength, it is a confidence that comes from knowing your body, your primary tool of mobility is stable. Dogs at play teach through simple and understandable actions. The play bow (explained below by Byosiere et al.) is basic dog body language every pet owner and shelter worker must learn.

As Robert Cabral lays out in “Play with Your Dog” it is imperative to build trust and friendship through play. A successful working relationship is built on a strong foundation. This is true for dogs and children. Few children forget the lessons they learned on the playground about respecting space, size and the bigger guy or girl does not always win!

Children and dogs build confidence on the playground. Without the interference of helicopter mothers (dog or human). Play and the playground, not screens and padded gyms build character. It is a hands on practical teaching that books and “life like apps” cannot replicate. As we increasingly place students in guilded cages (many schools now have rooftop play areas) the importance of a connection to soil becomes more urgent.
Watch these dogs, rescues, a polite word for discards. These discards regain their trust with dogs and humans through hours of work. Dedicated shelter volunteers recognise physical health is impacted by mental health. Mental health is rebuilt piece by piece for these dogs who regain their confidence to run and play. This means the dog has a chance at a second life as a productive member of a family or work team.

Canine behaviourists and experts of all schools of thought agree on the vital importance of play in the early life of a puppy. Learning through play is a basic building block for animal behaviour (domestic and wild). The return to play as a form of education will bolster the next generation of dogs and kids to live a life of confidence and service.

The importance of play time in the life of your pup or adult dogs is vital. Give them time with their peers, or a round at the park. If you take or send your dogs to the dog park, a good practice is to have them on a leash (this may be a long training leash).

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