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Have you ever thought about what would happen if you don’t play with your dog? You could very well be affecting their behavior and health.

Dogs are like us in many ways. A common feature we share is our constant need to stay mentally and physically active. One way canines do this is through play, which helps maintain their overall well-being.

Is It Bad If You Don’t Play With Your Dog?

According to animal experts, it can be very bad. As a matter of fact, numerous studies have been conducted to determine the risks of not playing with your four-legged family member.

One recent study found that dog owners who don’t take the time to engage in various activities with their dog or puppy suffer from issues with their behavior.

Some canines became more withdrawn and lethargic, whereas others increased their whining, became more jumpy, and didn’t bother to come when you called them.

On the other hand, dog breeds that are generally known to be more energetic and intelligent started showing signs of aggressiveness, stubbornness, and anxiety.

Do I Have To Play With My Dog All The Time?

Many people feel guilty about not spending enough time with their canines as much as they should, which is understandable. However, this doesn’t mean you have to play with your pup all the time.

Each dog breed has its preferences regarding how long and how often playtime should be. Thus, the most effective way to provide your pet with a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle is to create a daily schedule for him, which includes exercise, eating, and grooming.

You may benefit from reading our post, Puppy Exercise Guide: (Safe methods and going outside).

Another great post to read is about indoor games you can setup for your dog. Here is that post here, 9 Awesome Puppy Indoor Games and Exercises.

What Happens If You Don’t Give Your Dog Attention?

Not giving your pup the attention can result in your dog acting out and displaying unwanted behaviors. A dog or puppy that is bored will find their own way to entertain themselves. This can mean chewing on a couch, scratching at the floor, or digging through the trash.

If you notice your dog is exhibiting one or several of these behaviors, it simply means they are bored and require a positive outlet for their energy. Unfortunately, once these bad behaviors start, it’s difficult to stop them.

The best method is through positive redirection to toys or other activities. However, if your dog found a piece of meat in the trash, then they will likely keep digging, as they have been rewarded for their efforts.

Here are some signs your dog or puppy isn’t getting enough attention or play time:

  • Increased barking
  • Crying, howling, and whining
  • A change in body language
  • Play-biting or nipping
  • Nudging or pawing at you
  • Chewing, biting, or tearing up your home

Be sure to read our post, The 20 Best Dog Enrichment Toys

How Often Should You Play With Your Dog?

Before you can create a daily routine for your pup, you have to get to know their energy levels. To do that, start by buying a variety of dog toys to see which ones he likes more.

We of course recommend our HoundGames Hide’n’Treat, which is hands-down the best dog puzzle toy on the market. But of course we’d say that! Click on our shop to see more.

Also, try different activities and see how your dog reacts to each one. Do they seem more excited when they’re swimming or jogging?

Do more of the things your dog enjoys most. At the same time, it’s always good to add in variety of play.

In addition, make sure to come up with ways to keep your furry friend busy indoors as well. They can help avoid having a stir-crazy dog on your hands if he has to be stuck inside when it’s raining or too cold to go outside.

Woman playing with her dog

Couch Potatoes

Some dogs are naturally lazy and don’t like to move all that much. They prefer to lounge on a comfy rug rather than fetch a ball or catch a frisbee.

If you have a lazy pup, expect to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day bonding with your dog. You might like to read our post, Why is My Puppy Lazy: Causes and Treatments

These lazier  types include breeds like:

  • Bulldog
  • Pug
  • Bernese mountain dog
  • Shih Tzu
  • Basset hound

Balls of Energy

On the flip side, there are dog breeds that just can’t sit still. If it was up to them, they’d spend all day playing and running around.

To keep their high levels of energy in check, you need to engage them in any type of rigorous exercise 2–3 times each day. Each time could be for as little as 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes, depending on your schedule.

It’s also good to try different activities. For example, one day you can go hiking and play fetch, while the next day you can do some agility training and flyball.

You should also provide your furry pet with daily mental stimulation to keep bad behavior away.

Here are some of the most energetic breeds you’ll come across:

  • Yorkshire terrier
  • Labrador retriever
  • Dalmatian
  • Boxer
  • Siberian husky

Man playing with a puppy

Do Dogs Get Mad If You Don’t Play With Them?

Canines are intelligent creatures. They’ll let you know exactly how they feel when you don’t give them the attention they need. Yet, rest assured, your pup won’t get mad.

The truth is, dogs aren’t capable of getting mad because they live in the here and now. They don’t bottle up negative emotions like we do. Any time they’re bothered by something, the feeling goes away as soon as you remove the cause of whatever is upsetting them.

You might like to read our post, Will My Dog Remember Me? as we discuss how a dog’s memory and mind works.

Is It Okay To Not Play With Your Puppy?

If you have a busy schedule and you can’t play with your puppy for one day, it’s not the end of the world. But just be sure it doesn’t become a pattern.

What’s not okay, however, is to leave your puppies for several consecutive days without engaging them in some sort of exercise. Just like human babies, puppies learn through play.

They learn basic manners by playing with other dogs or similar-sized pets. Play is also how they learn to socialize, which is a crucial part of their training that helps them become good-natured, well-behaved adults.

Even just a simple game of tug or fetch can go a long way in keeping your puppies mentally and physically challenged. Then, after they’ve gotten all their energy out by playing and exploring their new environment, they can relax and focus more on building healthy eating and sleeping habits. After that, they can wait until their next outing or exercise session.

Happy Beagle Dog Playing Fetch in a Sunny Back Garden

Do I Have To Play With My Puppy Every Day?

Yes, puppies need daily physical exercise, not just to keep them entertained but playing with your pup is vital for their emotional, mental, and physical health.

For starters, it creates a strong bond between the two of you from a young age. It also helps them get used to a routine of staying active, which can help prevent obesity later on down the road when they’re an adult dog – and keeps unwanted behaviors away.

Remember, when canines, even young puppies, are left without regular mental and physical stimulation, they’ll go out looking for it.

Do you want to read this post by any chance? Why Does My Dog Dig at My Stomach? Explained


The next time you find yourself too busy or tired to spend quality time with your dog, just remember that 5 to 10 minutes of play time with them can have a drastic impact on their well-being.

For them, playing isn’t just about romping about; it’s a vital part of their overall health.

Games, like tug-of-war and fetch, also help stimulate their brains and keep them alert. Moreover, playtime gives them a nice mental break as well as an outlet to express some of their natural behavior.

Yet, most importantly, play is a great way to enjoy some quality time bonding with your four-legged friend.