Dr Katrina shares her tips for puppy playtime
Puppy play sessions are a fun way for you to bond with your puppy while doing something that comes naturally to them. Puppies must be managed during their play sessions to teach them appropriate, safe behaviour as this how they learn etiquette with their teeth as well as self control, skills they need to become a well mannered adult dog.
Often games are more rewarding to puppies than treats, so you can use games to reward your puppy for good behaviour throughout the day.
Trading toys with your puppy teaches them to be happy to share their toys. This is really easy to teach. While your pup has a toy, show that you have another toy and as your pup looks at you, throw the new toy. Your puppy will drop the toy they have already to go after the new toy and at the same time you can pick the first toy up and do the same thing. You can also give your puppy a treat as an exchange for the toy their. This way your puppy will learn they are not missing out when you take a toy off them as they get a tasty treat instead.
Please note: all play between puppy & children must be closely supervised.
Puppies need appropriate safe toys to play with. Toys fall into three categories:
- Toys that are safe for unsupervised play. These toys must be made of materials that your puppy can’t chew pieces off or easily destroy and be of suitable strength/size for your puppy. Some puppies have stronger jaws than others & while soft stuff toys maybe suitable for a small breed puppy they maybe unsuitable for a bigger puppy with a stronger jaw. The KONG Puppy is available for small, medium and large breeds and is designed for puppy teeth, jaws and gums. It is ideal for puppies from 2-9months.
- Toys that can be used to play games with you & your puppy. These are often soft toys that might be destroyed if left unattended, so supervision with these toys is important. There are also rope toys used to play tug or a game with your puppy. The KONG Puppy Flyer is a soft and flexible rubber flying disc perfect for puppies to learn good play and chewing habits.
- Toys that can store food and be used to keep the puppy entertained to prevent boredom. These include treat balls and dispensers that you can put your puppy’s kibble or treats inside. These toys can provide your puppy with hours of entertainment while they work out how to get the food out! The KONG Quest Starpod is made from high grade “non-toxic” TPR rubber . It encourages natural foraging behaviours and will keep your puppy stimulated and entertained.
Remember: Playing games can also be an effective way to burn off your puppy’s excess energy!
Here are some hints to teach your puppy to play fetch.
Fetch is a great game, especially for the kids but always make sure children and puppies are closely supervised.
Pick a toy that your puppy enjoys holding in their mouth & show them that you have it. You may need to move it around a bit to gain your pup’s interest to start, and then throw the toy a short distance but be sure the puppy knows where it lands. Sometimes if you running towards the toy at the same time, encouraging your puppy can help give them the idea. When the puppy picks the toy up, slowly run away from the puppy calling them, most puppies will run towards you with the toy. As your puppy gets close to you, show them a second toy. Most puppies will drop the old toy and go after the new toy. You can then pick up the old toy and continue the game.
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