Playing with your dog is a great way for pets and you to stay physically active and mentally active. It also strengthens the bond between you and your pup. If you have a young dog or a puppy and they have been itching to burn off some energy, you might be noticing some new little quirks like dashing through the house like a race car or running up and down the stairs with a toy. This isn’t to say they are always active. We all know that puppies nap and may even need several naps during the day. But to help burn some energy and stay mentally alert and physically in shape, here’s a few games to play with your puppy:
1: Make the walks fun – give your puppy a chance to jump, up on a short wall or over something on the ground, balance on the edge of the curb, and smell new things. Being outside can be sensory overload. As you work on the leash walking, make time for games. Stop now and then to let her check things out and reinforce commands along the way too such as sitting at the corner before crossing the street. You can even do small sprints but be careful of jogging your young dog since the joints and bones are still growing.
2: Play hide and seek in the house – this takes two people and can be pretty funny. One of you stay with the puppy in one room and keep her there while the other one hides. Then when your puppy hears her name being called, she’s allowed to seek! It can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and it’s a great way to practice those hunting skills and reinforce the command to come when called. If you hide too well though, your dog might lose interest so make it simple at first. This can be a great way to have the kids play with the dog that is gentle and fun.
3: Learning – sometimes the best game is to learn tricks. It combines discipline, exercise, and mental stimulation into one session. Start off with basic commands like sit, stay, down, and then try come, and a few others. Change the order of the commons and have your puppy do sit ups. Ask your pup to sit, then down, then back to sit, and down again. Reward her for listening. If she gets confused help her out and always end it on a good note. Keep the sessions short to make sure she’s not overwhelmed and try this 2 or 3 times a day alone or on a walk. Dogs learn best when trained early and often.