Puppy Play - Games to Keep Your Dog Entertained Mentally & Physically
03.01.2023 - Reading time: 3 minutes
Playing with your puppy regularly is fun and provides the young dog with both mental as well as physical stimulation. Playing games with you teaches the dog that he or she can have wonderful experiences with you, which strengthens the bond between you and your canine companion. As puppies are not yet able to judge how much energy they have left, it is important to bear some things in mind when you’re playing with a young dog.
Why playtime with your puppy is so important
Anyone who shares their home with a puppy knows that they love nothing more than to play all day. This is a good thing too, as playing provides physical and mental exercise, improves its coordination and teaches it social skills. In addition, playing together strengthens the bond you share with your pet.
It makes the puppy realise that the two of you are a real team that can have a lot of fun together. Puppy games can let your dog learn to stalk, grab prey or sniff out tracks while also teaching it about limits in play.
Puppy games – rules to be observed
Since your dog loves to play with you, it will likely pester you to do so a lot at first. If you abide by its requests all the time, it will learn that all it has to do is ask to immediately get what it wants. You should avoid this at all costs, otherwise you will end up with a very demanding adult dog. As cute as your puppy may be when it asks you to play, remember that you’re the one who decides when and for how long.
Rules for puppy playtime games
- To encourage bite inhibition, you should always signal with a loud “ouch” if your puppy bites you too hard and stop the game immediately. Over time, your dog will learn how hard it can nip you during playtime.
- One command you should teach your dog right from the start is “off”. If your pup refuses to give up its toy, say “off” clearly and put a treat in front of his nose at the same time. This will usually cause the dog to let go of the toy and it will quickly learn that following the command is worthwhile. With some puppies, however, this and other exercises require a lot of patience – especially if the dog prefers toys to treats.
- And as a general rule: don’t play with your dog for too long at a stretch and avoid overwhelming it, as puppies don’t yet know how to gauge their own strength very well. Wearing out your dog may make it less excited to play the next time around, which is why it’s better to play with it several times a day until it is tired but still yearning for more.
Indoor puppy games – how to keep your dog entertained regardless of the weather
There are many different toys and games for playing with your pup indoors. When choosing toys, it is important to make sure that they are suitable for dogs. Special puppy toys are also available. It is advisable to keep the toys in a fixed place that is inaccessible to the dog and not to leave them lying around all over the house. If your pup only has access to only one or two toys at a time, it will always be happy when you pull a new “old” toy out of the box. Having a dedicated place for toys also makes it clear to the dog what it can and cannot play with.
The type of play depends on your dog’s personal preferences and possibly on certain breed-specific skills your dog has that you should encourage. Search and brain games are good indoor puppy games. For example, scatter a variety of treats or a portion of dry food around the house and let your dog search for them. Other games you can try with your puppy are tug-of-war and roughhousing. Intelligence toys provide puppies with mental stimulation.