Making Time for Play

People rarely take the time to play—real play—when acting silly and laughing are perfectly acceptable. We exercise, we make time for sports, but we don't play enough. This is too bad, because both play and laughter are good for our mental health and physical well-being. But dogs, and especially puppies, need time for play, so you, as the dog's owner, are going to have to play with your dog. But don't worry; just because it's good for you doesn't mean you're going to hate it!

Throwing a ball or flying disc for your puppy to retrieve is fun and great exercise, but you can do so much more. First, as a part of your puppy's ongoing socialization, you can take walks in different places. Walk in the city park, in a rural park, and, if dogs are allowed, on the beach. Go for a walk at the local campground. Encourage your pup to walk on different surfaces and to greet other people and friendly dogs.

In the backyard, put together a small obstacle course. Place a wide shelf board over two concrete blocks and then encourage your puppy to walk across it. At a garage sale, find some plastic kids' toys, like a small slide, and have your dog climb up it and slide down the other side. Pick up a small kiddy pool, put an inch of water in the bottom, and encourage your puppy to jump in. When she does, tell her how brave she is! Then drop some ice cubes (or apple slices) in the water, urging her to catch them.

Dogs and cats do not have to be enemies; in fact, they can be good friends. Just don't allow the dog to chase the cat whatsoever, and supervise their interactions until you're sure the dog is trustworthy. Dax, an Australian Shepherd; and Squash, a domestic medium-haired kitten, both owned by Paul and Liz Palika.

Dogs and cats do not have to be enemies; in fact, they can be good friends. Just don't allow the dog to chase the cat whatsoever, and supervise their interactions until you're sure the dog is trustworthy. Dax, an Australian Shepherd; and Squash, a domestic medium-haired kitten, both owned by Paul and Liz Palika.

Teach your puppy to use her nose. Hold a treat in one hand, close your hand into a fist, and let your puppy find it. Then close both fists and have her find which one has the treat. As she sniffs, tell her, "Find it!" When she can find it in your hands, use several small plastic bowls, inverted, with a treat under one of them. Move the bowls around and encourage her to find the treat. Make a big fuss over her when she does.

You can also teach her find-it games around the house. Give a dog treat to one of your kids, have him show the treat to the puppy, and then while you hold the puppy's collar, have the child run away. When he has hidden himself in a fairly open spot, let go of the puppy's collar and have the puppy chase after him. When the puppy finds him, she gets the treat. As she gets better at the game, the kids can make it tougher, hiding in more difficult spots.

As you and your dog get to know each other, other silly games may invent themselves. You may find that your dog likes to "sing," and you can make noises with her. Or she may like to be acrobatic, rolling over and doing headstands or back flips. You might discover that you both enjoy trick training. The important thing is that you both are having fun!

Don't be afraid to be silly with your dog. Playing and having fun are important parts of your relationship. Puppy, a Chinese Crested, pictured with owner Margaret George.
Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment