It is important to play with your dog because it is an interaction that is pleasant for both of you and great exercise for your pet. However, appropriate play is important-you as the owner should always be in control.
Fetch is a great aerobic exercise! It’s best to use two toys and when the dog returns with the retrieved toy, give the command to “Drop it!” and then throw the next item. This avoids tug, chase, inadvertent injury to you, and allows you to control the game.
Chase is not a recommended game for excitable dogs because it often gets out of control.
Hide and Seek can be a good game, but only play if the game is under your control and the dog is not overexcited (the dog should not be barking, jumping or lunging at you). Instead of hiding yourself, hide your dog’s favorite toy and tell him or her to go find it.
Tug-o-War is a game that dogs enjoy, but it can result in human injury or pet misbehavior. Only dogs that will reliably relinquish toys on command should engage in tug-o-war games. You should offer the toy to your pet and request “Take it” and before the game gets out of control (vigorous tugging by the dog so that you cannot hold on) you should request “Drop it” and end the game. If the dog will not drop the object, let go, walk away, and refuse to play any further.
Agility is a challenging and fast growing sport. Agility teaches the dog/owner team to negotiate obstacles such as A-frames, teeter totters, tunnels and jumps. Competition is timed and scoring is based on speed and accuracy.