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Puppy Playtime

How to Play with Your Puppy!

Yeah I know that headlines sounds funny, who doesn’t know how to play with their dog? You’d be surprised at the mistakes many new and old owners alike make when it comes to play time. Things that they don’t give a second thought that can be not only dangerous but also encourage bad habits that will hard to break further down the road.

Puppies play for a variety of developmental reasons. but the main thing to remember is that as the owner, your training will help encourage positive puppy playtime manners. When puppies play with their litter mates, it’s normal for them to explore and play with their mouths.

Oftentimes when a pup becomes over-stimulated or tired, they can get nippy with each other. But now that your pup is home with you, you’ll need to train your puppy how not to do that with their new family! Understanding your pup’s normal play behaviour is very important as you embark on training them what’s acceptable and what isn’t. When you can spot your puppy starting to exhibit some bad activities, like chewing on your hands and not their chew toys, you’ll be able to take certain steps to curb that behaviour! Now, let’s dive into how to watch out for certain cues during playtime and how to encourage good manners!  

Puppies play for a variety of reasons, primarily to learn how to socialize and test their own boundaries. But while some people think it’s just them being “cute”, play activities are vitally important for their physical growth and mental development! During play, a puppy will exercise their muscles, growing stronger and testing out their agility! And, they will work their mental muscles, retaining important obedience commands, social and communication skills.

Play is a great way to give your puppy something to do and work towards, not just so they’re physically motivated but mentally, too. Some toys and games, like “Kongs” are specifically designed to work their brains, making your puppy think and work, followed by a rewarding treat and play!

There’s no question that playtime really encourages a special connection between you and your puppy! Playfulness is one of the main reasons your puppy learns to trust and love you. Playing with a toy with your puppy helps you to bond with your puppy through leadership. You become the provider of the toy and initiate the play which is fun!

Of course, if you place your puppy into puppy training classes or even take them on play dates, playing with other puppies helps them establish more social skills. During playtime with other puppies, your pup will start to understand their bite inhibition and other puppies’ boundaries

Puppies with high energy levels might need to learn the “Drop-it” command earlier on. If your puppy refuses to let go of their toy, you can teach “Drop-it” by using another toy or treat they love. With the original toy in their mouth, tell them to “Drop-it” then show them the new toy or food. When they release it, say “Good!” and reward them with that new toy or treat!

YES: Engage in games like fetch to stimulate your puppy’s natural drive. Also, incorporate mental games or toys like Kongs to keep your puppy’s focus and energy engaged!

YES: Encourage your puppy to practice basic obedience commands while playing! This makes learning something new, fun and rewarding for them!

YES:  Incorporate playtime sessions as part of your puppy’s daily routine! Making the time will help you maintain consistency with enforcing basic obedience and good behaviours!

YES: Monitor your own energy levels and tone of voice. Be excited if you want your pup excited! Be calm if you want your pup to calm down.

NO: Allow bad behaviour to continue during playtime. If your puppy starts to chew on you or something they shouldn’t during playtime, simply follow the steps we mentioned earlier in this section! Also, over-stimulation or being over-tired oftentimes is the culprit and a quick nap may be the best trick!

NO: Allow your puppy to continue to snap and nip at you! Playtime is valuable socialization and allowing those behaviours will instill that it’s okay for them to do so. 

NO: Reprimand rough play by getting emotional, yelling or becoming physical. Using a calm, stern “No” is perfectly acceptable as long as it’s backed up with training guidance.

NO: Leave your puppy unsupervised during playtime, especially with chew toys they can pull apart and ingest. 

I hope the above have given you a good starting point on who is the boss and how to make your new member of the family understands and respects that. It will make for a much happier and stress free relationship for the both of you.

Talk again Soon


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