How Do You Play with Fido?

A new study focuses on how we play with our dogs

There’s truly nothing better than working at a university, where I have the opportunity to study all kinds of questions that others may simply ponder about. As you know, my research has recently “gone to the dogs,” and I’ve been exploring the benefits of human-dog connections.  

So naturally, I was excited to hear about a new research project trying to better understand how dogs play with humans. There has been a lot of research watching how dogs play with each other. You can read some of that research in the book Off-Leash Dog Play by Robin Bennett and Susan Briggs. But what about how humans and dogs play together? For example, a few weeks ago, we talked about research from the University of Bristol showing the most important part of a dog’s toy is the human holding the toy. If you have gone to a dog park, you know that dogs love to have a playmate, but dogs play differently with other dogs than they do with humans.

The Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab has decided to investigate the different ways people play with their dogs in a new research study called The Dog-Human Play Study. Dog owners are invited to participate by visiting their webpage, completing a survey, and then uploading a 30-60 video of you playing with your dog. Then you get to join the esteemed Wall of Contributors with other dogs and owners who have taken the challenge and shared their play.

So the next time you start to play with your favorite pup, ask someone to make a recording to help scientists better understand what’s special and unique about how we play with our dogs. This research will help us better understand ourselves, our dogs, and effective ways to play and bond with the important furry friends in our lives.

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