My Dog Wants To Play All the Time - What Should I Do?
Some dogs just want to play ALL the time.
This may seem harmless, and some dog breeds are simply clingy or more needy than others. However, excessive attention-seeking may be indicative of deeper problems.
So, let’s find out why some dogs always want to play, when you should pause dog play and how you can get your dog to stop wanting to play continuously.
Let’s start by looking at the power of playtime.
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The Importance Of Play
Play is important for puppy development. They use it to learn and explore the world around them, whether with their mouths as they chew or testing boundaries as they tug, wrestle, and nip.
Of course, it isn’t just about psychological development. It also helps them learn motor skills. A puppy that tumbles over its paws is still learning to navigate the world around them and to keep their balance.
For adult dogs, playtime strengthens the human-dog bond. Giving them one-on-one undivided attention helps them feel they’re a special part of your life. It gives them their much-needed energy release.
Coordinated play with adult dogs increases their understanding and trust in you. Play likewise releases positive endorphins in dogs that create happiness and joy. This gives the pup hormonal balance and emotional health for a better life.
However, some dogs seek their pet parents’ attention too much.
Why Do Dogs Seek Attention?
Attention-seeking behavior in dogs is common. In puppies, it’s a normal survival mechanism as they rely on the care of their mother or pet parents. For adults, this behavior, however, may indicate they’re bored and are not getting enough attention.
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What Counts As Attention-Seeking Dog Behaviour?
If your dog constantly brings you their favorite toy or is disproportionately whining, begging, stealing, nudging, barking, and jumping on furniture, they are seeking attention.
It is especially unhealthy to see this behavior in older dogs. It can be exhausting for owners and potentially dangerous around older people and kids. It may also mean your dogs have yet to learn to be happy in their own company.
And no pet parent would feel happy to leave the house knowing their dog is miserable.
8 Reasons Why Your Dog Wants To Play All the Time
1. They’re a High-Energy Dog Breed or a Young Dog
A high-energy dog will be hyperactive and full of energy. You may observe this behavior as racing back and forth or around in circles at high speeds or leaping frequently.
If you have a naturally high-energy dog, you may have to work with your pet to manage that behavior.
Some breeds famous for having higher-energy requirement includes:
- German Shepherds
- Australian Shepherds
- Border Collies
- Siberian Huskies
- Labrador Retrievers,
- Golden Retrievers
These dogs are designed to work and protect the property or herding sheep. So, when they lounge in your living room, they will need more physical and mental stimulation than a lap companion.
2. You’re Not Giving Them Enough Attention
Your dog may also seek play all the time because you’re not giving them enough attention or playing with them. Your dog may be lonely or too attached, making them more desperate for interaction with you.
Sometimes, dogs are left for long periods of time alone, and they end up clinging too much when their owner arrives. In that case, it’s a separation-related issue, not attention-seeking.
If your dog needs more attention during the day and you’re usually out for work, consider hiring someone to walk or play with them. You can also invest in a robotic or automated dog toy that lets them play fetch without you.
3. Not Enough Exercise
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If your dog is not getting the amount of daily activity they need through playtime or walks, this is another reason they may want to play with you all the time.
Generally, all dogs require at least 20 to 30 minutes of a daily walk. But more energetic and larger dogs require more.
To start, research your dog's breed and how much exercise it normally needs daily. Then, assess if they’re spending enough time to be physically and mentally healthy and happy.
4. Not Enough Mental Stimulation
Sometimes, physical exercise alone is not enough for your dog, and they still want to play with you. This is because dogs also have to work their minds as much as they need to work their bodies.
Some breeds need more mental stimulation than others, as they are usually intelligent dogs. These include the Australian Cattle dog, Jack Russell Terrier, Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, and Siberian Husky.
5. You’re Unintentionally Rewarding Your Dog’s Behavior
Let’s say you have properly exercised and mentally stimulated your dog. What if they still want to play with you all the time? If so, you may be unintentionally rewarding their behavior.
For instance, you give in when they play-bow you, whine, or bring you toys. They think playing is always okay since you keep playing with them. Don’t worry, though, because you can still change this behavior.
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6. They Like Meeting New People or Playing With Other Dogs
Dogs are social animals. If they always like to play with you, it may be because they want to meet new people or other dogs. Observe how they react at the dog park or around children.
If you’re the only person your dog sees, they may need to see other people or creatures to stimulate them.
7. It’s Their Unique Personality
If your new dog doesn’t seem to tire, it could be because of their unique personality. After all, they’re just like every person with a unique personality. Curious or intelligent dogs may be more likely to play than aloof ones.
8. They Have Insecurity Issues
Lastly, your dog may suffer from insecurity issues if they always want to play with you. Being around you makes them feel more comfortable and safe.
How Many Hours a Day Should You Play With Your Dog?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to the hours you should play with your dog. However, most experts believe dog owners should spend at least half an hour playing with their dogs daily.
Moreover, it’s generally recommended that your dog get about 30 minutes to two hours of being active every day, not just on the weekends.
Of course, there are other factors to consider. For instance, a puppy will need more playtime than an adult dog because they still need proper socialization and are full of energy. An unwell or injured dog may need more rest than play to recover fast.
Your dog’s fitness level is another consideration. A dog that’s in good shape will need more playtime than a dog that’s overweight.
Warning Signs: When to Pause Dog Play
Follow your gut instinct. If the wrestling gets too rough or it’s getting too loud, create a break by taking hold of your dog and guiding them away.
Here are warning signs of when to pause dog play:
- If one dog is especially worried or submissive and trying to get away from the other dog.
- If one dog is overly focused on one dog. This behavior can annoy or overwhelm the other canine.
- There’s a change in volume, tone, or pitch.
- If the dog isn’t listening to your corrections and antagonizes the other dog.
- There are multiple dogs ganging up on one dog during play.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Wanting To Play All the Time?
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Ensure your dog is getting lots of exercise, as it will provide an outlet for excess energy. If they’re overly excited and you think they may not have the best impulse control during play, putting baby gates may help to keep your dog calm.
And when you have more free time on the weekend, you may want to schedule a more intensive exercise for your dog. A good example of this is mountain climbing.
Physical exercise will keep your dog’s heart healthy, improve coordination and overall balance, and keep the joints lubricated.
Related: Walking a Pitbull - All You Need to Know
This doesn’t only get your dog to stop wanting to play all the time; it will also activate their mind to prevent premature aging.
Activities, such as socializing, games, and obedience training, are great ways to engage your dog’s mind, which is particularly beneficial for an adult dog.
Purchasing puzzles or foraging for toys to stimulate your dog mentally is also a good idea. Some of these toys may also be feeders that prevent issues such as regurgitating food and choking. They also promote slower eating.
Some supplements help lower your dog’s excessive energy levels. This help if your dog constantly seeks your attention and wants to play all the time.
But please, consult your veterinarian first if you use it on dogs with sensitivities or allergies to any ingredients in the calming supplement.
While each dog has its own exercise requirements and energy levels, feeding them a low-energy diet will almost always help calm a dog.
So, avoid feeding them a high-energy diet, especially if it isn’t an outdoor or an intensely hardworking dog or needs extra nutrition, like a younger dog.
Furthermore, choose the highest-quality food you can afford to feed your dog. The difference may not appear on the nutrition label, but they are found in the source and quality of ingredients.
Training your dog can play an essential part in helping them learn how to practice some self-control and stay calm. The use of positive reinforcement, for example, is an effective method to teach your dog to stay calm.
A professional dog trainer can help you teach your fur baby to calm down when you require them to do so and obey your directions. The said professional can provide obedience training or structured activities, like dog agility, to calm down a playful dog.
If your dog is anxious about going outside or struggles to be alone, you may need to teach them that these activities are safe or gradually desensitize them for longer absences.
Routines help ensure that your dog stays in a calm environment. Aside from walks, include a feeding schedule in your routine. A feeding schedule can benefit you at night when the playful dog doesn’t interrupt your much-needed sleep.
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Excessive jumping, barking, or pawing can become annoying and difficult to live with. Luckily, with the tips we shared above, you can easily deal with attention-seeking dog behavior.
With some patience, management, and understanding, you can have a four-legged companion who’s the definition of a “good boy” or girl.
So, go ahead and give your dog the love and affection they deserve without them disturbing your peace and quiet whenever you leave the house. If you’re still struggling to control your pet’s behavior, you can seek advice from an experienced and accredited behaviorist.
Moreover, if you haven’t brought a new pup or adult dog yet and believe your family doesn’t have much time to walk them during the day, you can opt for a low-energy dog breed at the start.
Without a doubt, regular playtime and exercise are essential for your fur baby. A great way to ensure your dog gets in some physical activity while preventing them from running into dangers is to buy a Tactical Dog Collar.
SparkPaw’s Multi-Color Tactical Dog Collar Set is gentle on the skin, lightweight, has an emergency handle, and is strong enough to control your rough-and-tumble pup. Check it out today.