Playing games with your puppy is more than just hanging out and spending time together. The activities and rules you choose can help your new friend get to know you better, develop their cognitive thinking and, of course, get much needed physical and mental stimulation. For grown-up dogs, playing becomes an important activity, that helps them stay healthy and feel involved. It’s crucial to be thoughtful and careful when playing with your puppy. Some owners may accidentally contribute to developing bad habits in their dog, even without realizing it. This is exactly why you’ve got to pick the games the reinforce elements of training and ensure your dog’s consistent positive upbringing.
All puppies feel the urge to grab, bite and chew nearly every single item laying around your home. Hunting and destroying these items is something their instincts tell them to do. First, try not to tempt them: hide the shoes, close all drawers and cabinets, roll up the curtains, etc. Second, make sure to get your puppy an appropriate chew toy, something like a Nylabone or a rubber Kong toy will do the job.
The key is to redirect your pup’s attention away from the stuff you don’t want to be damaged. For example, if your pup is developing an interest in shoes and slippers, you can spray them with a deterrent like Bitter Apple spray. Try to engage your pup in a game and put their toy in the spotlight. If you find a chewed-up item with your pup sitting innocently next to it, you’ll have to do a better job supervising them. Punishing your dog after the fact will not make sense to your puppy and will just confuse them.
When you start teaching your pup to play fetch, start with 2 identical toys. As the dog brings a toy/ball/rope back, throw the second toy. When your pup drops the toy in his mouth to chase the toy you threw, pickup the first toy. Repeat until your pup is predictably dropping the first toy at your feet before you throw the second toy. Another simple game to learn for your pup is Find It. While playing, you can hide a toy or a treat and ask your pup to search for it. Be flexible, start easy and gradually complicate the task.
Training your puppy is a serious, long-term commitment. Don’t feel frustrated when your little friend doesn’t get everything perfect immediately. You can always consult with our certified dog trainer Heather, and together we’ll be able to develop an individualized training plan consisting of games and commands for you and your pup to learn and enjoy. If you wish to learn more, contact Lead the Way K9 Training and fill out our contact form online!