Having a puppy in your life means getting to have all that time to build that special bond and help him/her get used to your routine.
Another important area you may thinking about when it comes to your puppy is playtime with puppy. with your puppy. That can be a tricky area particularly if you’re a first-time puppy owner; you’re not sure how to play with your puppy and what you should/shouldn’t do to make it a great experience for both of you.
I wanted to write this blog post to give you confidence and set you up for a great experience when having playtime with puppy play times.
Why Playtime with Puppy Is Important
Having a puppy comes with a long to-do list but it’s important to add some fun, dog training, and learn your puppy’s play style. This will give you a chance to show your puppy what’s okay, and what’s not okay when it comes to playtime with puppy.
Mixing puppy play times with training gives you a chance to work on behaviors you want to teach your puppy and learn how easily he/she picks up on things you do together.
Knowing what your puppy can and can’t handle will give you a chance to introduce new things at different times, rather than all at once.
We want puppy play times to be fun and not overwhelm your puppy with too much too soon. In addition, adding no more than a couple of activities and seeing how it goes, will help you pinpoint what’s working best for your puppy.
Playtime with puppy will also teach you when your puppy is too overstimulated and needs a break. Knowing this information will help you make better decisions with your puppy and what you decide to work on with your puppy.
We want to end puppy play times on a good note and show your puppy how to move on when puppy playtime is done – and make that transition easy. This is something your puppy has to learn to do when training, playing with other puppies and being around other things and people.
Playtime with puppy is vital as it demonstrates to your puppy all the things he/she can do when interacting with humans and dogs and gives your puppy the confidence and skills to thrive.
Related Blog Post: First 48 Hours With A New Puppy: How to Survive Those Crucial Hour
The Best Time for Puppy Play Times
Puppy play times are best done after your puppy has gone to the bathroom. That’s because once your puppy has gone to the bathroom, you’ll be less worried about an “accident” happening during playtime with puppy.
Taking your puppy out in the morning for his/her usual bathroom opportunity and then starting the playtime could be an option. This could be repeated depending on how your day is going.
Moreover, you want to think about your schedule and make sure you have enough time for playtime. If you are in a hurry then that will shorten playtime with puppy and not give you and your puppy enough opportunity to play.
Also, when you’re in a hurry things get rushed and we want to make puppy play times fun and a good experience. So, it’s best to look at your weekdays and weekend schedule to see where you can make the time for puppy play times.
How Long Playtime With Puppy Should Be
I recommend setting a timer on your phone for ten minutes and seeing how things go with your puppy. Sometimes the best thing to do is to keep it short and simple and end on a high note.
As time goes on, your puppy may get so excited and distracted that things may start off great, and then before you know it, your puppy is grabbing everything and you end up frustrated.
So it’s a good practice to start off with short times for puppy play times, and then you can add a couple more minutes to your timer and play it by ear.
This gives makes puppy play times enjoyable – for you and your puppy. Sometimes playtime with puppy can be longer or shorter depending on how things are going, and that’s A-okay!
What Activities to Do During Puppy Play Times
There are a variety of things you can work on with your puppy during puppy play times.
You can add different things into puppy play times like:
Socialization Time: This gives your puppy a chance to socialize – to new things in your home or in your backyard as well as people, particularly kids. Focus on one thing each day. Having kids plus noises at the same time or day may be too much for your puppy. It could make your puppy scared of those things you want your puppy to like. Instead, think about how to incorporate things easily and space them out so that you have success with your puppy.
Play with Other Puppies – This should be a one-to-one kind of play to start with your puppy. It may seem easy to have your puppy play with more than one puppy, but if they are not the same size or have differing play styles it might not go as well. Going slow and seeing how your puppy responds to other puppies will help you know what he/she can handle and make puppy playtimes a breeze.
Basic Obedience– like sit, down, eye contact, etc. These are some of the basic obedience skills you can work on when it comes to dog training. You may think that if you practice the training once your puppy will get it, but it takes repetition each and every day. When working on dog training make sure you stick with one behavior; I know you may be eager to work on more behaviors, but that could be confusing to your puppy.
Another thing you might be eager to work on with your puppy is teaching them to walk on a leash. If you want to learn how to do this even if your puppy is not old enough to go on a walk yet The Leash Training Blueprint: A Simple Guide to Enjoyable Walks and A Strong Bond With Your Dog will help you with that. Do not let the word “dog” in the title throw you off because this blueprint can also help your puppy so that you can both enjoy walks together.
Playing with Different Toys– Nylabone Puppy Power Chew Puppy Teething Rings Rings Small/Regular (1 Count) and 6 Pack Dog Chew Squeaky Toys for Puppy Teething 2-8 Months Puppies Teething Toys for Small and Medium Dog Soft & Durable Dog Chew Toys Cleaning Teeth and Protects Oral Health are two vetted options for toys as they provide a variety of things to try to see what works best with your puppy. When trying new toys make sure you are there to supervise your puppy to see how things go and if your puppy destroys them or not. I know getting toys can be a simple solution for your puppy when you’re away from them, but it’s important to learn which ones work so you save yourself the trouble of not buying them again if they are not a good fit.
Playing Tug-of-War -This may be something your puppy wants to do with a toy as well. Just be careful as your puppy has baby teeth and if you pull too hard with the toy it could pull one of those teeth out unintentionally or shove the tooth up in the gum. I just want you to be aware so you and your puppy have a safe experience together.
Fetch – This is another way to work on “come” in a different way with your puppy. The reward is getting the ball thrown again. Here are some toy ideas Bojafa Dog Puzzle Teething Toys Ball Nontoxic Durable Dog IQ Chew Toys for Puppy Small Large Dog Teeth Cleaning/Chewing/Playing/Treat Dispensing Dog Toys (2 Pack) or W Hol-ee Roller Dog Fetch Treat Dispenser Puzzle Ball; Small 3 Inch Diameter to play fetch with your puppy. **You want to make sure the toy you use is big enough so your puppy will not choke on it.**
Playing with Different Noises – To see how your puppy reacts to them. This could be done from your phone, finding videos on YouTube, or from items in your house that you want to get your puppy used to such as the vacuum cleaner, blender, and tape (this might seem fine to you but could be scary to your puppy), dishwasher, etc. The amount of exposure time should be short in the beginning as we don’t want to overwhelm your puppy.
Working on Touching Your Puppy: Touching your puppy’s paws, ears, paws, tail, and looking in his/her mouth are things that can help you, as well as when you take your puppy to the veterinarian. When touching your puppy make sure to be gentle and give praise. You can try touching different parts of your puppy on different days. It would be best to work on this when your puppy isn’t too excited as touch can get a puppy excited and maybe lead to the zoomies. This is just something to think about when working on this with your puppy.
***Just a quick reminder with the toy recommendations I made above, you want to make sure the toy you use is big enough so your puppy won’t choke on it. This is something to bear in mind because when your puppy plays with a toy he/she may not easily give it back to you.
If the toy is big enough then we have that extra layer of safety that when we are trying to get the toy he/she will not choke on it.
We want your puppy to feel confident and curious about things but keep it simple too. I provided several ways to make playtime with puppy fun, but don’t feel pressure to do everything all at once. Doing everything at once would make puppy play times overwhelming – for you and your puppy.
Instead, try one thing and see how it goes with your puppy. There may be days when you have more time to work on things and other days when you have to shorten things. Remember that making play time with puppy enjoyable is the ultimate goal. So just make it work the best you can with your schedule. No need to complicate things.
Related Blog Post: How to Choose and use Treats in Training your Dog
Is it Good to Play Rough with a Puppy?
Your puppy has not been in the world that long and is growing every day. Therefore, his/her body is delicate, and playing rough with your puppy could hurt as well as scare them.
Playing is fun but your puppy is trying to get used to you and the human world and following your puppy’s lead may be the best way to go. Each time you play you will have more information about what your puppy likes to do and those are the things to add to your puppy play times.
Another thing you may experience playing rough with your puppy is his/her teeth. It’s not intentional but those teeth, which feel like piranha teeth, can lead to marks on your hands or even legs depending on if you play on the floor.
Getting your puppy revved up with rough play can get your puppy overstimulated. So your puppy ends up trying to jump on you, grab your clothes, and maybe go for your shoes or shoelaces.
Nothing is really off limits to your puppy when it comes to using those sharp teeth and even his/her nails can hurt you. That is not what your puppy wants to do but is a side effect of playing rough.
Also, if you accidentally step on your puppy while playing too rough or don’t see your puppy come upon you, it could lead to an unexpected veterinary visit and bill.
Related Blog Post: How to Socialize Your Puppy and Why It Is Important
Why Does My Puppy Want to Play at Night?
Your puppy may have extra energy depending on when he/she took a nap last, if he/she didn’t get all the energy out during the day during puppy playtime, and if he/she was in their crate too.
All that excess energy that is left over from the day can come out in the evening. This energy your puppy has is referred to as “the zoomies.” Your puppy runs around in circles, and you may hear some growling with the excitement he/she has, as well as play bows.
If you start having a nightly routine of the zoomies there are some things you can do to help you both.
Watching your puppy before the zoomies begin might give you some clues that it’s about to start. Give your puppy a short time to do the zoomies and then see if a toy can get his/her attention back on you.
Keeping the same tone in your voice as well as body movement is important too. We don’t want to make a big deal out of it. We also want to see how we can transition to something else that can get that energy out of your puppy.
Another thing to try is keeping the zoomies in one area of your house. That could mean shutting doors in the house and having dog gates that keep your puppy in one location and safe while doing the zoomies.
Finally, if you have other people in the house you want to make sure they react to the zoomies the same way, as that will be another way to turn things around easily without confusing anyone as well as your puppy.
Final Thoughts on Puppy Playtime
I hope this blog post was helpful and that you feel more confident about what you can do during puppy play times.
Mixing puppy play times up with things that are not only fun but also teach your puppy behaviors that you want to see more of like sit, down, etc. can bring you both enjoyment in the building of that special bond you both deserve together.
Another thing you may notice you are struggling to stop during puppy play times, or other times is all the jumping on you.
You might think it is cute and that your puppy wants your attention but then it seems like every time you are around your puppy it gets worse and they could hurt you with their nails and mouth.
The other struggle you may be facing is the time and steps to take to stop the jumping as it keeps getting worse. Add those puppy teeth with the jumping and it can be painful and leave marks on you.
That is why I created a short ebook called Stop The Jumping. These tips are easy to start doing with your puppy today and turn things around when it comes to working on stopping the jumping.