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PLAYING CHASE: Why Your Dog Likes It & Why You Do Too…

Posted by Jennifer McCarthy on April 6, 2012 in Africa, At Home, Dog & Wolf News / Issues, Los Angeles Base, Nature / Colorado, Speak! Archive, Training & Behavior Tips

It’s another afternoon at the dog park. People are chatting up a storm about their beloved pets, telling stories to one another all the while their dogs socilally interact joyfully in different ways.
I stand off to the side observing every interaction- like pictures in a slide show, I record what I see between dogs to file for later use.
My Pit Mix that I rescued from a small animal shelter in Arizona last winter catches my attention. She is over joyed to be there- it’s been a week without a dog park visit which is a long stretch for her. She wines looking around for her old best friend Elvis. After realizing he isn’t there, she goes up to every dog to instigate play if they are willing.
She wants so badly to be chased- a game that Elvis & her used to play all the time. She could care less if a dog is being chased but if they will chase her, her life will be complete.
Why do dogs love to play chase? Have you ever wondered why children love to play chase or maybe why so many of our sports revolve around simaler games that involve chase?
The reason may be because we are no different than dogs in some ways.
The game of chase is at it’s fundemental level, a game to practice moves in mamals to help us to survive. Whether you are the predator or prey, you have developed these skills to assit you in times of danger or simply to receive your next meal.
Both dogs and humans feel joy in the game of chase. Ironically, the same joy we feel in playing a game can come from the same place of fear or pursuit on the other side of the coin.
It’s a natural instinct for children and young dogs to play this game as this is the time when wolves and other animals are most likely to be prey. It’s also a time to learn these fundemental skills that can serve us for life.
As I look inward to all my experiences of watching animals play, I remember that we are no different and that our natural paths are the same.
On the way home, I pass a soccer match going on between adults and I remember a dog in the dog park chasing a large ball. The dog with the ball growls to another dog to stay away. The man on the feild aggressively pushes his opponent to the side. The bodies are different but the instinct is the same…

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