Playing is the base of dog’s training because all dogs need exercise for their own wellbeing. To get the dog’s attention, the dog has to think that spending time with us is amusing and that’s why playing can be considered a preferred method to have an attentive dog to our commands.
Playing can be described as the set of all those activities that the dog can do with us: fetch, tug of war, chasing etc. These fun activities allow you to build a good relationship between the dog and the owner, and when the dog learns to play with the owner, thus learns to pay attention and listen to him.
Some schools of thought consider playing negative for training purposes because the dog gets excited and loses the ability to control itself but from the point of view of other experts that is not true, indeed it is the exact opposite. In fact, if the dog is used to having an always low arousal level, in exciting situations it won’t respond to commands given because it is not used to control itself. The point is that if our dog gets used to face out situations of high excitement and we teach them to listen to us we will have a dog that can always control itself. Playing is excellent training for this since we can control the level of excitement and intensity of the distractions that surround it.