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Creating a Play Routine May Help Pup Adjust to Strangers!

Do you have a playful pup that seems to have one thing on his mind (maybe two . . . after yums)? Well, according to a new study, experts say that the desire to play can often overtake any other instincts, like fear, in dogs. So, after a routine of games were established with a pampered pet, even strangers could get a dog to come play. The study examined 68 well-adjusted pups that had obedience and agility training, lived in their owner's homes, and were well cared for in addition to six factors that the researchers examined. Learn what these were – and the results – when you

.

  • Familiarity of the play partner: The study showed that when presented with a favorite game, most of the dogs played equally with anyone in sight!
  • Type of game: Although there was some variation – males were a tad less scaredy cats dogs – both genders enjoyed playtime.
  • Age: While puppies are more often playful, they also may not have as many established fears – and, since the older dogs played, too, this factor was out.
  • Breeds: Even though some breeds (like über-enthusiastic terriers) seemed more excited when playing, all dogs wanted to play the games with their new, not-yet pals.
  • Ordinary amount of daily interaction between dog and owner: And we have a winner! How much the dog played on a daily basis seemed to affect how motivated or fearful the dog was during the study. This caused Lila Toth, lead author, to offer the following advice:

    It could mean that if, over time, the dog and its owner develop a routine of games, the dog could generalize these behavior routines to other play situations with another unfamiliar person, and the dog is less prone to misunderstanding human intentions.

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Spectra Spectra 8 years
My dog used to be really afraid of strangers, especially men in hats because she used to be abused. But once we started getting her to play fetch, she's a lot more friendly with just about everyone.
wren1 wren1 8 years
My dog isn't scared of anyone or other dogs. He'd play with anyone who wanted to. I wish he wouldn't try to run up to every humongous dog he sees--he's too little to play with most of them!
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