Benefits of playing with your dog outside

Playing outside with your dog helps reduce boredom and can eliminate bad behaviors.Let's face it. Dogs love to play, regardless of where they are. But there are some inherent benefits to playing with your dog in the out-of-doors. Allowing them to run at full speed without having to worry about broken lamps or overturned chairs is just one of those benefits. Playing outside can be healthier for your dog as well. Here's why.

It Provides Them with More and Better Exercise

The first thing I think of when I consider outside play for my dog is exercise. For dogs of much size, it's never possible for them to reach full speed in the house. Allowing them to run and play outside gives them a much healthier cardiovascular workout than they could ever receive indoors. Outside there are also objects they are able to jump up on or over, exercising different muscle groups than they normally can indoors.

It Helps Control Their Prey Instinct

Instinctively, dogs chase prey. Unless a dog has been trained properly, they're likely to take off after any cat or rabbit that crosses their path. Playing fetch or tug-of-war with your dog outside helps teach him that you are in control of what is acceptable to chase.

It Provides Variety and Prevents Boredom

Just like us, dogs need variety in their interactions and play in order to keep from being bored. That's important, because a bored dog can be dangerous and destructive. (Just ask my daughter, who has had to replace more sets of blinds than she cares to admit.) One way to offer variety is by regularly playing with your dog outside. Fetch, tag … basically anything that lets them run and jump while still being able to interact with you is beneficial and enriches their lives.

It Can Be Safer for Them

Inside we have electrical cords that can be tripped over, nick-knacks that can be broken and stepped on, and any number of hazards that can be threatening for a rambunctious dog. And although there may be a different set of dangers outside, supervised outdoor play can be safer for your dog than the same kind of play inside.

It Allows Them More Freedom

It is against the nature of many breeds of dogs to be constantly locked up indoors. Allowing them to run and play freely, like within a fenced dog park, gives them the opportunity to feel freedom, even if only temporarily. This can be important for a dog's psychological as well as physical well-being.


"Primal Play," South Sound Hounds

More from Cherri:

Summertime safety for puppies

5 ways to bond with your dog

6 rules for a successful vet visit