Your dog, a great explorer
Dog’s domestication process happened over ten thousand years ago and it is not clear why or how they were domesticated, but it is pretty clear that dogs were working animals, for hunts and surveillance. Their gregarious hunting instinct (in packs) and their social and curious behaviour made them the ideal companion for humans for that purpose.
Nowadays most dogs live in cities and, despite being far removed from their ancestors, they need to exercise their instinctive behaviour through games, physical exercise, and exploring. Despite hunting not being necessary any more, dogs need regular social contact with people and other dogs, as well as opportunities to explore their surroundings and exercise. That’s why it is important that dogs have daily opportunities to go out for walks around wide natural spaces where they can express their true nature.
Dogs and playing
Playing fulfils an important function within dogs wellbeing. Playing allows them to establish social relationships amongst themselves as well as with their owners and other people. Playing also allows them to establish the social hierarchy amongst younger dogs, and helps them be prepared for the unexpected. It is through playing that dogs can express their personality and fulfil their natural need to explore their environment and physically exercise. Playing, dogs do not only learn about their own abilities while contrasting them to other dogs’ and humans, but they also release their energy and tighten their bonds with us. It has also been observed that dogs prefer playing with us, as members of their pack.
In order to provide them with entertainment, we can use several interactive games:
- Fetch: Throw an object, and run behind them to get it back. It could either be a ball that rolls around the floor, a Frisbee that looks like a flying bird, or a rubber toy.
- Hide and seek: with this game, as well as incentivising their exploring instinct, we foster their memory. The aim is to hide an object while the dog is watching, removing the dog from the room, and then let it back in. It then has to find the toy, either because it remembers its location, or it can trace the smell.
Dog’s bodies are agile and strong in order to chase, its excellent nose make them ideal trackers, and their sharp intuitions make them surprise us often by taking food from our plates. Don’t let all this go to waste!
Playing is key: your dog doesn’t need to hunt to eat any more, but they need to have fun and express their natural instincts.