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We all can see how much fun the dogs have playing with other dogs. Dogs are social creatures and play is essential for creating and maintaining social bonds.

Playtime is an essential component of our dogs’ overall wellbeing. Besides being a blast, play supports their physical development by practicing motor skills, improving coordination, and keeping them in tip-top shape. Mentally, playtime is like a brain gym, stimulating their minds, enhancing problem-solving abilities, and fostering creativity.

Playtime isn't just for our dogs; it's also a precious opportunity for us pet parents to strengthen our bond with them. By actively engaging in play, we show our pups that we're their ultimate playmates and allies. Plus, incorporating play into training regimens can be highly effective, as dogs learn what is appropriate or not through these interactions. If they bite too hard, play comes to a halt, teaching them valuable lessons in gentle behavior. As adolescents, they receive correction from older dogs when they act inappropriately, further refining their social skills.

Just like people, every dog has their unique playstyle. Breed characteristics may influence their preferences, but it's essential to remember that every dog is an individual. Some enjoy boisterous roughhousing, while others prefer gentle romps. As trained professionals, our staff understands the nuances of appropriate play. We carefully observe consent, ensuring both dogs engage willingly. If play seems too intense, we break it up briefly and observe if they re-engage or choose to disengage. We want to make sure all dogs are enjoying the experience.

During play, our furry friends communicate through a range of meta signals, letting each other know it's all in good fun. Here are some cues to watch out for:

Exaggerated, bouncy movements: Dogs display energetic and playful body language, showcasing their excitement.

Loose body posture: Relaxed and wiggly bodies indicate that the play is friendly and non-threatening.

Play bows: When a dog lowers their front end while keeping their rear in the air, it's an invitation to play.

Turning the bum towards another dog: This gesture is a playful gesture, showing trust and signaling that they're ready for interaction.

Big goofy grin: A dog's smile is an unmistakable sign of pure happiness and enjoyment.

Remember, these signals reflect the playful spirit and help ensure harmonious interactions!

At our daycare, we prioritize a safe and enjoyable environment for all furry guests. Inappropriate play, such as bullying, excessive roughness, or extended chasing, is promptly addressed by our experienced handlers. We correct behaviors like pinning, body slamming, and any play that becomes too intense or rough. We keep a watchful eye on rude posturing, teeth baring, excessive barking in the face, and mounting. Our goal is to maintain a positive play experience for everyone!

Puppies seem to effortlessly find playmates, but as dogs grow older, they may become more selective. Adult dogs develop routines and comfort zones, so it's crucial to introduce them to a variety of playmates regularly. At our facility, we offer an enrichment program that caters to different preferences. While not all dogs need to play with others, being comfortable around fellow canines is essential.

Play is not just about fun and games; it's a key ingredient in your dog's well-being and a pathway to building a strong and loving bond.

Dirk Broersma