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If there’s anything dogs love more than sniffing each others’ butts, it’s playing a game with their owners!

How you play with your pup can have a huge impact on their personality and overall behavior, so it’s important to approach playtime with a sense of responsibility. The next time you head outside to toss a ball, keep these tips in mind.

Stay in Control

Tug of war is a popular game among dogs and their family, but it’s also a good way to cause aggression and possessiveness in your pup. It might seem cute to playfully argue with your dog when he refuses to let go of his rope, but what’s happening here is that you’re teaching your dog that’s he’s in charge and doesn’t have to listen to your commands. If he refuses to let go on the first command, drop your hand to your sides and stop playing with him. Sometimes it helps to gently grab his collar. Whatever you do, don’t keep up the game until he’s willing to listen.

Don’t Let Him Chase Children

Once your dog passes the puppy stage and outgrows your small children, having him chase them around the yard isn’t recommended. Mostly, this is because even if he means no harm he could easily bowl them over and cause injury. It could also instill a sense of dominance in the dog and lead him to believe he’s in charge of your kids. Instead, have your kids toss a ball for him to run after and bring back on command.

Hide and Seek

One great game to play with your dog is hide and seek. Most dogs were designed to hunt, and this game helps them utilize all of their senses! Make sure your dog is in a separate room (someone will probably need to hold him) then head off into the house or fenced-in yard to hide. Once you’re ready, simply shout his name and let his nose go to work! Go ahead and toss him a goodie or two when he finds you.

Use Healthy Treats

It’s important to incorporate treats into game time with your dog. This allows you to have a great time with him while also awarding him for good behavior. Playtime is a great tool to get in necessary exercise but stuffing him with fattening goods will cancel out all of that hard work. The right treats will give him the nutrition he needs and allow him to keep up his energy throughout the day. Healthy, natural treats are excellent ways to make playtime more fun!

Read More at The Honest Kitchen Blog
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