PLAY System

In the context of the Play+ philosophy, the PLAY system refers to one of the primary emotional systems identified by Jaak Panksepp in Affective Neuroscience. This system is responsible for the spontaneous, joyous interactions seen in animals, including humans, and is most evident in youthful activities and games. It’s characterized by bursts of energetic activity and is often associated with positive social interactions and bonding.

In Play+, the PLAY system is activated to enhance the engagement, motivation, and enjoyment during the dog training process. By incorporating playful, rewarding activities and games into training sessions, handlers can stimulate the PLAY system in dogs, promoting active participation, cooperation, and learning.

It’s important to note that the PLAY system is not just about physical games and actions, but also about the emotional and mental state of the dog. A dog in a PLAY state is more open to learning, more interactive, and generally more receptive to positive training techniques. This makes the PLAY system a critical component in the Play+ training philosophy.

The handler’s aim during a Play+ training session is to harmonize the SEEKING and PLAY systems within the dog, creating a balance of anticipation (SEEKING) and action (PLAY). This harmony leads to an optimal state of engagement, facilitating the most effective and enjoyable learning experience for the dog.

The PLAY system in the Play+ philosophy therefore represents a crucial neurobiological foundation and a strategic tool for creating a positive, stimulating, and rewarding training environment.