Play Ball!

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“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.”

― Samuel Butler

With affection comes play. We can’t resist it when it comes to our beloved pits. According to the book by Pat Miller titled Play with Your Dog, when we play with them, we are doing right by our dogs in more ways than one. The benefits include exercise, training and modification of unwanted behaviors. As many of you know, a tired pit bull is a well-behaved pit bull.

My partner and I, devoted parents that we are, make time every day to play with Dasher. He is just so much happier and relaxed when we do! I highly recommend setting aside 15 minutes every day with your pit. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but it is a great start and you will see benefits immediately. The trick is finding what motivates your dog and using that.

Dash loves his ball. Loves it! We play fetch with him every night when we get home. The great thing about this game is that it can be played inside. Through this form of play, we have reinforced his ability to sit, stay and come. Because he does so well with games that involve his precious ball, we have also taken to hiding it and making him find it. Hide and Seek is another great game for two reasons: He gets to use his mind and he gets some exercise. Try showing your dog an object he is particularly attached to. Then, wrap it in a blanket and watch him try to dig it out. Pit bulls are terriers, so this satisfies their natural desire to seek out and recover prey.

Another form of play that is perfectly acceptable is tug-of-war. You may have heard, as I have, that you should never play this game with a “bully” breed. That is a misconception. As long as you set guidelines for this game, you can add this to your list. According to Miller, guidelines include:

  •  You start and end the game
  •  You win most of the time
  •  Only tug side-to-side
  •  Feel free to give time outs when your dog gets too rough or excited

I look forward to hearing how these methods work for you. Until then … Play Ball!!

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