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5 Signs Your Dog Needs Interactive Play

Play is fundamental to every dog’s development. When puppies are just weeks old, they can be found tousling with their siblings - learning essential skills about how their body and relationships work. 

But play isn’t just about basic life skills. Play - and we mean high energy, interactive play between you and your pooch - has the power to prevent unwanted behaviours, tackle existing ones and transform the relationship between you and your dog.

dog looking at owner with sheepskin tug toy

Interactive play - with the right interactive toys - can be a highly effective motivator and a reward that tops even the tastiest of treats. Interactive play can also help your dog overcome anxiety and cope with real-world stressors. 

At Tug-E-Nuff Dog Gear, we believe every dog can enjoy and benefit from interactive play - but some dogs exhibit signs which demonstrate an explicit need for it.

Here are 5 telltale signs your needs interactive play: 

1. Your dog gets distracted easily

Does your dog only have eyes for you when you’re out on walks or at training class? If the answers no, you need a secret weapon that makes you more interesting than the environment.

dog playing with sheepskin tug toy

You need an interactive training aid that taps into the things your dog finds most motivating (it could be the texture and scent of real, responsibly-sourced sheepskin dog toys, it could be training toys that incorporate food, it could be a training toy that can be thrown and fetched as well as tugged).

What’s important here is that the training aid you choose can be used to play an interactive game of tug, like all of those in the Tug-E-Nuff range. It’s this interactive play with an awesome toy that will stop your dog responding to distractions, and start making them respond to you. 

2. Your dog isn't motivated by food

For some dogs, food is the best motivator (and so interactive play requires a toy that incorporates food, like our Food Bag Bungee) to get results. Other dogs aren’t that fussed by treats. Don’t get us wrong - they’ll still eat them. But food just doesn’t get them fired up and willing to work hard in training. 

In these cases, it’s important to use interactive dog training toys that tap into what they DO find super motivating.

dog fixated on sheepskin tug toy with purple long handle

Customers often tell us that their dog wasn’t interested in playing until they discovered our responsibly-sourced real fur range of tug toys or our Faux Fur collection. Discover what your dog loves - and use it to your advantage. 

3. Your dog paces up and down, chases their tail or barks incessantly

Pacing, tail-chasing and excessive barking are all sure fire signs that your dog is lacking in stimulation. Just going for a walk isn’t always enough.

Your dog needs enriching, interactive play with a durable, motivating toy that acts as a positive outlet for their innate instinct to chase, grab and pull.

Playing tug of war isn’t an overnight fix, but we know from experience that building interactive play into your day can provide the right kind of stimulation to keep unwanted behaviours like barking, tail-chasing and pacing at bay. 

dog tugging on bright blue and yellow fleece tug toy

4. Your dog is destructive 

Boredom is often a main cause of destructive behaviour in dogs. To prevent or stop these behaviours, you need to give your dog an outlet for their energy and natural urge to use their mouth. 

Playing tug of war with an interactive dog training aid is the solution. You don’t need to play for long - just a few minutes of intense play, where you both really get into it, can be enough.

Not sure which Tug-E-Nuff toy is right for your dog? Check out our bestselling dog toys or take our play pawsonality quiz to find your perfect fit toy!

play personality quiz for dogs

5. Your dog is anxious and/or sound reactive

Are there certain situations or sounds that distress your dog? Does your dog go crazy when the doorbell rings? Or does your dog get scared by rustling noises?

When your dog is anxious or reactive to certain sounds, as owners it can be really hard to know what to do for the best.

This is where the power of play can be really transformative. That’s because interactive play builds confidence in shy and anxious dogs and boosts the bond you share so their trust in you grows. Use interactive training aids at the perfect moment as the perfect distraction.

If you’re out on a walk and a bigger dog comes sniffing around and making your dog nervous, whip out a toy like the Pocket Magnet to keep your dog calm and focused.

dog tugging on tough tug toy with orange faux fur

Use toys like the Rabbit Skin Pocket Squeaker to reward your dog when they show calmness in stressful situations. And use toys like The Clam to build up confidence around specific triggers while in the safe environment of your own home. 


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