Engaging activities for puppies are essential for their mental and physical development. Here are some ideas for engaging puppy activities:
1. Puzzle toys
Provide puzzle toys that require puppies to figure out how to get treats or toys out. This stimulates their problem-solving skills and keeps them entertained, which has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety. You can use puzzles during meal time to help them slow down and avoid inhaling their meals like a hoover.
2. Tug of war
Play a gentle game of tug of war with a rope toy or soft tug toy. This helps puppies release energy and strengthen their jaw muscles. Remember to establish boundaries and teach them to release the toy on command. It is a myth that tug playing will cause your dog to be aggressive. When played correctly it can improve impulse control, strengthen your bond, and provide mental stimulation while also tiring them out.
3. Hide and seek
Hide treats or toys around the house or in the yard and encourage puppies to find them. This engages their sense of smell and provides mental and physical stimulation. Giving puppies a healthy and constructive way to channel their natural instincts to hunt, track and trail will help them become more balanced and behaved while also giving them a confidence boost. Off Leash K9 Training offers nose work classes for dogs of any age; you do not need obedience training to join this program.
4. Water play
If your puppy enjoys water, set up a shallow kiddie pool or sprinkler for them to play in. This can be a fun and refreshing activity, especially during hot weather. Puppies have a young immune system; having them in a safe controlled water environment will help minimize the risk to parasites and bacteria that can be found in lakes, ponds and other bodies of water.
5. Outdoor exploration
Once your puppy has had the required shots, take your puppy for walks in different environments, such as parks and nature trails. This helps with socialization and keeps them curious and engaged. Socialization is more than just meeting people and other dogs. It is exposing your dog to as many different sights, sounds and smells as you can.
Desensitizing is all about variety without overwhelming your puppy. Start with small and short exposure. Go to the park early in the morning when it isn’t very busy. As your puppy becomes more confident, you can build towards visiting during peak times. In our puppy programs, we focus on desensitization and exposure to help you raise a more confident, well-mannered dog.
6. Obedience training games
Turn obedience training into a game by incorporating fun elements. For example, play “Simon Says “; with basic commands or have a mini agility course set up in the backyard. At your first puppy lesson, we provide you with many games and activities to keep training fun and engaging. A fun game you can play at home to strengthen engagement with your puppy is the Name Game.
Why Should You Train with the Name Game?
The Name Game helps your pup with name recognition which is the foundation for your runaway recall. The name game and recall command are the only two commands we include your pup’s name for. For example, we say “Fluffy come” whereas for “sit” we just say “sit”, no need to add your pup’s name.
How To Play
- Get some high-stakes rewards, something special such as liverwurst, chicken, liver, or roast beef. Choose something your pup will only get during the Name Game.
- Hang out in a room with your pup. Try to be a few feet away; you can watch some TV, read a book, or get dinner ready.
- When your pup isn’t watching, say their name in a cheerful tone and present the high-stakes reward right to their face.
In the beginning stages, don’t wait for your pup to look at you in order to get the reward, get it to your pup. By doing this you will produce a reflex in your pup where they will automatically turn their head towards you to get a treat sooner. When your pup is turning their head towards you, you can begin to build distance, until you are across the room. Eventually, you and another person can call your pup from room to room.
Take the Name Game Outside
When the Name Game is good inside, take it outside!
- Start on a 6ft leash.
- Let them get distracted by sniffing the grass, dirt or bushes.
- Say their name in a bright cheerful voice and present the high-stakes reward when they look at you.
- When your pup begins to look towards you, begin to build distance.
7. Playdates with other puppies
Arrange playdates with other well-socialized puppies for supervised play sessions. This allows them to interact, learn appropriate play behavior, and burn off energy together.
Picking Activities For Your Puppy
Remember to adjust activities based on the age, breed, and individual preferences of your puppy. Always prioritize safety and supervise any activities to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience for your furry friend.
Enroll Your Puppy in Training to Help
Training a puppy can be challenging, as it is difficult to keep them engaged. At Off Leash K9 Training Maryland, we offer fully comprehensive puppy obedience training that includes a multitude of engaging activities you can utilize at home! Contact us today to enroll your puppy in one of our training programs.