Playing with your puppy keeps both of you mentally and physically stimulated. Puppies are active beings and a regular activity session is especially essential for them; they start behaving in a maniacal way after being cooped up for too long. Playing is an important part for the growth of puppies. It does not take a lot of effort to help your puppy play and like us, puppies love to nap too. They sleep as much as they exercise. The amount of exercise per day determines the number of naps your puppy will probably take. The days for these young dogs are full of flurries of frenzied activity alternated with some serious sleep time.
Playing with a puppy might seem candid. However, if you are not very careful, you can outdo play making it too rough or too long for your puppy, leading him to be aggressive or grumpy. If you have not prepared the play, you may even end up creating behavioural disorders in your puppy like nipping or biting.
Helping you mould your puppy to socialize, and to further strengthen your bond, here are 10 games that you can play with him:
1. Simple Strolling
Stroll along the beach, in the park, or simply around your neighbourhood as an ideal activity for your young dog. To make simple strolls more fun, give your hound a chance to jump, balance along curbs, and to smell flowers as he finds them. Keep close and make sure that the stroll is on the terms of your puppy. The walks must be short until the joints of your puppy are fully mature. The environment, with its own sounds and sights, that a puppy experiences while on a walk is intellectually stimulating. This also helps your dog to socialize well with other people and animals’ around.
2. Hide and Seek
The fun game of hiding and seek gets even more interesting with you furball. Such games are great exercise and help to hon the puppies hunting skills. Begin with letting your friend hold your dog for you while you hide. Then, call out his name a few times till he finds you. Your little furry friend would be very excited when he finds you, and puppies absolutely love this game. This game also acts as a great way to reinforce the “come” command
3. Treasure Hunt
The treasure hunt is another fun game to play around the house to hunt for a toy or treat. In this game, your little friend has to sniff out the treats and his toys that you have stashed away. This is also amongst the few favourites of the dogs. While this game is very interesting and keeps your dog busy, it may even frustrate him when he is unable to find the treasure that you have hidden so well, causing him to behave badly. Hence, it is important to let your friend win sometimes on purpose.
4. Flirt Pole
A flirt pole is a simple pole or a handle that is attached to a rope, with a toy at its end. It can be easily made at home or you can even buy one. Dogs love to chase the fox-like-tail. It is also easy for you, as an owner, to exercise your dog without overly exerting yourself.
The flirt pole is used to increase the prey drive and coordination in dogs, hence you should ensure a few rules while playing this game:
- Do not let the dog jump at you.
- Do not let the dog grab the toy out of your hand.
- The dog should only be allowed to grab the toy after you give him the command to start playing.
- He must be willing to give up the toy whenever asked to, with NO attempt at resource guarding.
- Have frequent breaks during play to prevent over-excitement.
It is important to ensure proper behaviour from your dog and that he follows all rules. If he displays any dog aggression, stop playing this game.
5. Tug of War
If played correctly, tug of war is a great way to involve your dog to get into a lot of meaningful play and exercise. It is important to ensure that your dog has a good command over the “drop it” or the “leave it” command. When your dog gets extra rowdy or starts mouthing everything, know that it’s time to stop playing this game.
6. The Which Hand Game
This game is a great starter for the dog who has not practised nose work before. It involves simply taking a piece of kibble or a dog treat and placing it in one of your hands while holding both your hands close to your dogs’ nose. Let him pick a hand, and if he picks the right one, he gets the treat. It is important to ensure that your dog does not claw you or does not mouth around. If this is happening, it is better to train him with some basic impulse control first.
The most loved and the all-time favourite of your furry friend, fetch is best played in parks or along the shore, but it is equally fun in your own backyard, or even the living room, considering that there are no irreplaceable figurines. Playing this active game teaches your puppy to focus and follow instructions better. If you are playing fetch for the first time with your puppy, pique his interest by tossing the fetch toy and demonstrating him how to chase after and retrieve it. Dogs can this concept in no time.
8. Put Your Toys Away
This game is much more fun for you, as an owner, than it ever will be for your dog. It starts from having your dog to pick up a toy near where they are usually stored and to drop it while standing over the toy box. This game takes a lot of practice, patience and a lot more praise to be done right.
9. Teach your dog tricks
This can be great fun for both you and your dog. Tricks can only be learnt once your puppy has mastered basic commands. A few tricks like rolling over or playing dead can be taught to your dog by spending about 10 minutes each session. Ensure a reward for correct behaviour before you name the trick.
10. The Three Cup Game
It is also among one of the nose starter games. This game involves 3 cups lined up in a row in front of your dog. To start with, put a treat under one of the cups while your dog is watching, and command him “OK” to pick one of the three cups. If he picks the right one, praise him and let him have the treat. Once your dog gets used to the game, make it more challenging by shuffling up the cups after you place the treat.
The more quality time you spend with your dog, the better your bond gets, and playing together, makes it stronger. Happy pet parenting.