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Dog Play is More than Just Fun and Games

By August 17, 2015 No Comments

By Dawn Todd

Dogs and humans have play in common. This is just one of the many reasons we feel such kinship to dogs – both our species like to play into old age. Play keeps life interesting and enjoyable whether you’re a person or a pooch. We love dogs because they remind us to play and have fun. When we play and socialize, life gets better for our dogs, and us. 

Do you recognize any of these play styles in your dog?

 The Cheerleaders – These types of dogs stand on the sidelines and “cheer” the other dogs on, usually barking excitedly. Every now and then the cheerleader will come in off the sidelines and decide to jump in and referee the game.



 The Party Crashers  – These dogs like nothing better than a good doggie roller derby – they’re known for running towards each other at high speeds, an occasional tackle, and lots of rough and tumble play.


 The Wrestlers – This group loves rolling around on the ground with lots of full body contact and chewing… especially faces, but could be a tasty leg. Our Great Dane Julius is a terrific wrestler, willing to lie on a bed and chew faces with the tiny Cleopatra.



The Chasers – These dogs love to play “I’ll chase you then you chase me” games. This type of play often turns into “keep away”, where one dog steals a valuable toy and encourages the other dogs to chase the toy.




The Tuggers – This group loves a good game of tug best, whether with another dog, or their favorite human.


Sweet Softies – Gentle dogs who are frightened or uncomfortable with rough physical play. These dogs may eventually learn to play doggie games, but to start, they always prefer hanging around with their own kind.



In our years of experience, both here and back in Raleigh, we’ve learned that identifying pups’ predominant play styles is the first step to creating a safe, fun party for pooches. And we also know a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Even dogs who have not been formally trained to have “good manners” are rarely in our office for “bad behavior” when their need for exercise and social interaction is met.

And what happens when dogs don’t get enough exercise?

Boredom – which leads to dogs who create their own things to do… things that may or may not be ok with you.

Obesity – lack of exercise inevitably leads to overweight dogs who have the double whammy of needing fewer calories, and overeating because it’s the highlight of their day.

Neurotic behavior – when smart dogs don’t get mental and physical exercise they often develop the bad behaviors we see in the office – licking holes in themselves, spinning, excessive barking, aggression.

Noah’s Playground has been designed with many spaces to promote safe, supervised canine play to provide the opportunity for your dog to get the exercise and socialization he craves. 

You can see the full menu of services here, but here’s a quick overview of what we’ll offer at Noah’s Playground:

Doggie Daycare – Available for a half day or full. Just like human daycare, you drop your pampered baby off and we do the rest. There will be a morning full of games and play – in and out of the pool. There’s always an afternoon treat, nap, and training break. At that point the half day players go home and the afternoon games begin again. Parents are thrilled to take home a relaxed, stress free pup to enjoy the evening with.

Yappy Hours – We’re thrilled that Franklin has a couple dog friendly patios now…especially Lazy Hiker where we combine dogs & beer! But the dogs can’t be off the leash…and so now we’ll have Yappy Hours, where cool dog people and friendly dogs will get to roam about and socialize. Sign up for the Noah’s Playground newsletter here if you’d like to stay on top of announcements specific to the Playground.

Open Swim– Want to hang out and watch your dog swim with others? Then open swim is for you. We also have private swim sessions available for dogs who may be uneasy around other dogs in the pool.

Still not sure your dog really needs to go to daycare to get more exercise?

Whenever I meet with clients to talk about their dog’s behavior, I always ask early in our discussion, “How much exercise does your dog get?” Most report, “two walks a day” and “we play in the house.” While that’s a terrific effort, and way better than no exercise at all, those two walks probably don’t add up to more than a mile a day. The majority of dogs can tolerate many, many miles of exercise per day… but that’s not all a dog needs to remain psychologically healthy. 

Consider the dog Chaser…often billed as “the smartest dog in the world.”

Click here to learn more about Dr. Pilley and Chaser

Chaser knows the names of 1022 distinct toys. Chaser knows several verbs, and can be spoken to in sentences he understands. The retired psychologist John Pilley has been training Chaser 5 hours per day, 5 days a week for nine years. When asked if he thinks Chaser is a canine “Einstein,” he says “no, there are probably a lot of Chasers, you just need to work with your dog.” After all, Chaser was not selected for intelligence, he was just a random puppy the professor purchased after his retirement. 

I bring up Chaser’s story to illustrate the enormous potential locked in all of our canine companions. You see, our canine friends need not only good food, fresh water and exercise – they also have a need for mental challenges and social interaction, both with other dogs, and other humans. Yes, most dogs love having an active social life, and Noah’s Playground can help your pup be his best, and be a better companion for you too.

And did you know that plenty of exercise and opportunities to socialize can literally be lifesavers?

Researchers looked at reasons 2,000 dogs were surrendered at shelters around the country. 

Here are the top 8 reasons people gave up on their dog… Does your dog do any of these?


Aggressive behaviors 


Destructive inside

Destructive outside

Soiling in house



Each one of these problems can be prevented entirely or improved dramatically with exercise, socialization and training – all available now at Noah’s Playground! 

Try Pupscicles! They’re great boredom busters for busy pet parents!

Pupsicles are an easy-to-make, fun-to-eat treat for dogs who need to take their time when they eat.  They also keep dogs entertained and out of trouble while their owners take care of those pesky tasks that cut into playtime!

Watch this short video to learn how to make Pupscicles!