Play performs a vital role in a dog’s development from teaching them social skills to helping them learn about the world around them, but are Britain’s dogs getting enough or do they deserve a ‘playrise’?
A team of ‘Data Sniffers’ at pet technology company Pitpatpet Ltd (makers of the award winning PitPat dog activity monitor) have conducted an analysis of their latest data and discovered that on average our dogs play for 20 minutes a day. Can you beat this?
Think you’ve got a playful pooch? You may be surprised by the top 5 most playful breeds - Chihuahuas, Cockapoos, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels and Vizslas. It seems that dogs even suffer from the Monday Blues with 12% less play on weekdays compared to the weekend.
Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour & Welfare at Bristol Vet School, Emily Blackwell commented: “The benefits of play for our dogs are both physical and mental. Bonds are formed between playmates and the frequency of play in healthy dogs may indicate the quality of the dog/owner relationship.
"Play also allows dogs to obtain information about the physical environment, learn about social interactions as well as refining motor skills and improving physical fitness. Lower levels of play have even been found to be associated with common behavioural problems in dogs.”
The data also showed a trend for smaller dogs to be more playful than larger ones. Large mixed-breed dogs miss out the most - playing for 70% less time (on average) than their smaller counterparts.
The insights from Pitpatpet have been released in conjunction with MORE TH>N Pet Insurance as part of their Movement for More Play campaign. This pawsome new initiative will run throughout 2018 and has been designed to educate dog owners about the benefits of play and inspire them to give their dogs what they need - a playrise.
John Ellenger, Head of Pet Insurance at MORE TH>N, commented: “We know how important the role of play is for dogs health and wellbeing and we would always encourage owners to spend time playing with their dog each day, keeping them entertained as a means of ensuring they stay emotionally happy and physically healthy.”
MORE TH>N’s top three tips on keeping your dog more active
- Make the most of taking your dog for a walk. A simple way of keeping your dog entertained is mixing up the walks you take with them each day. Taking the time to change the whereabouts, or even simply the route, of your walk will provide them with the opportunity to explore new areas, and experience different sights and smells to what they’re used to, providing great stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
- Try to involve your dog in your day-to-day life as much as possible. Remembering to take your dog out with you when running errands or meeting up with friends is another great way of using these menial outings as precious bonding time with your pooch, while also helping them stay active throughout the day.
- Don’t let bad weather stop you from playing with your dog. Play-time with your dog shouldn’t be limited to taking place outside of the house, as there are lots of great games that can be used to keep them entertained in-doors as well. Nose work games in particular – such as ‘Find the Treat’ – are a great way of challenging them mentally and helping them hone in on some of their natural skills.
Figures based on 15,000+ dogs across the UK