The Value of Play
In nature, playing is one way a puppy learns basic manners. If a pup plays too roughly, his playmates will let him know, possibly by giving him a good, firm nip. If he still doesn’t get the message, the game will end sooner than he might have liked.
Play is an important aspect of your relationship with your dog, too. For your pet, playing is one way of developing social skills, and it can be a good physical and mental workout, too. Play also prevents aggression and future behavioral problems.
Pick a good time to play. Best are times before meals. If small children join in, they should be supervised by an adult. After all, the game might get too rough and one of them could get hurt in the excitement.
Puppies are like humans. They all have different likes and dislikes. Get to know your puppy and learn what kinds of games he likes. And don’t worry if he doesn’t like certain games. After all, you don’t like every game you have ever played, either. Right?
Mixing In A Bit Of Training
Playing with your dog is a great way to pass the time. But it can be more than that. Playing can also be a great way to train your dog. If you like, you can add commands to your training sessions like “sit” and “stay.” You can even use a clicker to play and train at the same time.
Even if your play is not that structured, you will still be using lots of commands so that your dog will stick to the rules of the game. In other words, you are killing two birds with one stone: both training and playing with your dog.
Playing is also a form of socialization. By playing, your dog learns that there are rules he must follow if he wants to have fun with other members of his family.
Ideally, you should stop playing before your pup gets tired, so that he leaves the session in a good mood. When he’s tired, he becomes grumpy, just like people.
Regardless of how you structure your puppy playtime, just be sure to keep it fun. And don’t forget to shower him with praise and lots of treats!
Popular Games For Dogs
Play tug-of-war with your doggie using a sturdy tugger rope, not just any toy or fabric. If your puppy is shy and anxious, letting him win this game will boost his confidence.
Hide and seek is a popular dog game. Instruct him to sit and to stay. Start by showing him a treat, and then find a hiding place. Once you are hidden, call him to come find you. This exercise can enhance his searching skills and his sense of smell.
Teach him how to play “fetch”. Throw a toy and have him bring it back to you. Give him a treat every time he returns the toy to you. This command will teach your puppy to give you something when you instruct him to. This ability not only makes playing fetch more fun but could also save your pup’s life. Always end the session on a positive note to maintain your pup’s interest.
After teaching him some basic commands, you might consider teaching him a few tricks, too. See my article “Unique, Cool And Easy Tricks To Teach Your Dog To Impress Other People” for some suggestions.