It is so important to spend time playing with your puppy, not only to ensure they get lots of exercise, but also to bond with the pet as well. Games are so great because they get rid of that excess energy and calm the overexuberance.
The best active game for young dogs is simply learning tricks. This is a great way to combine exercise with the discipline your pet will need for a healthy and happy life. Start off with teaching basic training commands like “stay” and “come” outside or in a room large enough to allow him to practice. These skills not only teach your dog to focus; they will be important to his or her safety when you bring him out into the world. Later, you can move on to tricks such as lying down, rolling over, or playing dead. Always be sure to reward your puppy with a treat once it performs the trick.
Performing tricks is a mental and physical workout for your pet. A good rule of thumb is to spend only about 10 minutes at a time on each trick session, and then come back to it after a short break — dogs learn best when trained early and often. Also, be sure to reward your puppy with plenty of treats, love and affection for performing well. Tricks and training are important for developing doggie discipline, but they also should provide an opportunity for bonding between you and your best buddy.
Fetch is very popular game. You can use tennis balls, toys or frisbees. You will find that in time, your pup probably will have a favorite to use. This is a great indoor or outdoor game. You can even play it on stairs if you have them. If you find your dog won’t bring back the ball or toy, use several, and just keep throwing a new one. Make sure you reward your puppy once they bring back the toy when you first start playing this game. It is also best to start out just throwing the toy short distances.
Mental games are also a great activity. You can stuff Kongs, Wobblers and other toys that dispense food. If you don’t want to spend a lot on these toys, you can get creative and use plastic water bottles. Use high-value treats when you prepare these toys for your puppy.
Flirt poles can also be a fun exercise! These are like a feather dancer for a cat but made for dogs. It’s a great indoor game, especially when you have limited space. Flirt poles are fun to chase, fun to jump for, and can even beused to practice impulse control; you ask your dog for a sit or down, start swirling the flirt pole around, then release them to ‘get it’ (try this if you ever want to see your toy-driven dog go off like a rocket.)
Tug-Of-War is another great game. However, it should be played with rules. Try to take short breaks as you play. Always use one designated toy for this game. If your puppy’s teeth touch your skin, for any reason, always drop the toy. The game is over. This exercise teaches the dog that it’s not the end of the world if someone takes away her toy because she’ll probably get it back — or get something of equal or greater value in its place. Once your dog figures this out, she’ll be less likely to develop a guarding issue.