Your puppy needs care and attention. Invest in their happiness and not only will they form a closer bond with you—we call budding relationships “puppy love” for a reason—you will leave them with less energy to cause chaos and destruction around your home.
Here are five easy and fun ways to entertain your puppy.
Fetch – Find a soft ball or Frisbee that is not too big for your puppy’s mouth. Take your puppy to a wide open space. Make sure the space is safe; you don’t want any roads nearby. In fact, a fenced-in area is best. If you don’t have access to a yard with a fence, you can try a baseball field that’s not in use.
If your puppy is unfamiliar with fetch, you can demonstrate it yourself by throwing the toy, chasing it down, and bringing it back to where you tossed it from. Your puppy will be an old pro in no time.
Go for a hike – Take your puppy to a local trail. Make sure the trail has little or no elevation change and is rated easy or accessible. Your puppy is, after all, a beginner in all things. As you navigate the path, let your puppy discover nature safely by your side.
They will encounter lots of new sights and smells they will want to explore. If they take off running, jog to keep up with them, but don’t run ahead of them and tire them out too much. While your puppy is still young, keep them on leash. As they rush ahead, practice calling them back to your side.
You should also teach them to glance back at you at regular intervals. If your puppy can learn to look back regularly for you as they hike on ahead as well as return to you when you call for them, when they grow older they will be able to—where leash laws allow—safely roam the trail more freely.
Teach them – It’s never too early to start training your puppy. They need mental stimulation the same way they need physical stimulation. Start slow and be patient; even concepts like “stay” and “sit” are foreign to a puppy. When they begin to get the hang of the commands, be sure to reward them with treats, head scratches, and snuggles.
Hide and seek – Once your puppy has learned how to “sit” and “stay,” you can use those commands to have them stay in one place. Show them a treat, and then go hide somewhere nearby. Once you are in your hiding place—it should be an easy one—call your puppy to you. When they find you, show some excitement! Give them some verbal praise, some pets and scratches, and, of course, the treat they earned.
Have company – Let’s face it, you and your puppy will get to hang all the time. To break the routine, it is a good idea to have some company for your puppy to socialize with on occasion. If you have friends and family over, you can form a circle and take turns calling the puppy over.
When your puppy approaches whoever calls them over, they can be
rewarded with some verbal praise, physical affection, or a treat. Another good idea is to invite a friend or family member who has a dog of their own to visit. This interaction will teach your puppy socialization skills with another dog. Make sure you pay close attention to their interactions, though, as your puppy may get over-excited with their new pal.
As your new friend grows you’ll love teaching them new exercises. You can also take a few minutes to learn what treats are safe for your puppy with “The 10 Best Human Foods for Dogs”.