Puppy games are incredibly fun, for both you and your little one. These games are a playful way to start exercising your new puppy while teaching him to become socialized, friendly, obedient and calm.
Just like babies, even puppies spend most of their day sleeping. However, they are quite energetic and refreshed when they wake up. Playing games can be effective to utilize that energy, bond with your newly adopted puppy and also teach them important life skills right from a very young age.
So, here are some fun games that you can play with your little pooch.
Name Game: The objective of this game is to teach your pup to look at you whenever you say its name. Say your pup’s name loudly in different tones. When he responds and looks at you, reward him with a treat. Keep on repeating this until he looks at you consistently. First, start playing this game at home where there is no noise. Then, try it when you take your pup on a walk in the park where there is a lot of noise and distraction. Teaching your pup to respond whenever you take his name is a basic training command.
Hide & Seek: Wasn’t this your favourite childhood gamer? Guess what? Even your dog loves this game! It is the best game to teach recall commands and real-life skills to your dog. Start playing this game at your home. Hide in another room and use their name or the command “come” to let them find you. Once your pup finds you, offer them treats and a lot of praise. You can hide further away so that your dog has to search the whole home to find you. If your dog is comfortable finding you, increase the difficulty level of this game. Play this game in your society premises or a park by hiding nearby. Ask a friend to distract your dog when you hide. Call your dog and ask him to start the search.
If there’s ever a moment when you and your dog get separated, the hide-and-seek game will prepare your dog to not panic and learn that finding you is a fun activity.
Tug of War: This is another great game to play with your pooch, as it is mentally stimulating, and physically tiring and teaches impulse control commands to your pup. Use a toy that is specifically made for playing tug of war. If your pooch picks up a cloth or socks, immediately end the game so that he learns his mistake. Use this game to teach your puppy some commands like “Drop it” or “Leave it”. When he drops the toy, reward him with a treat. Slowly, he will understand that dropping a toy can earn him a treat. Also, stop the game immediately if you notice your pup getting aggressive. If his teeth touch your hand, drop the toy. Your puppy will not learn these things in the first seating. It will take some time before he understands that biting is not allowed and that he has to drop the toy when instructed to do so. Finally, let your puppy win at times so that he is motivated to play.
Find the Treats: Find the Treats is a good game to hone the sniffing ability of your dogs and increase their focus. Ask a family member to hold the dog when you hid a treat. Use the command “find it” to start the game. When you are starting, hide it at a place that is easy to find. Your puppy can use the sense of smell and sight to find the treat. A dog’s sense of smell is 1000-10,000 times stronger than a human’s. When you play this game, you are optimizing your dog’s most evolved skill, which for him is quite satisfying. Over time, you can increase the difficulty level of this game by hiding the treat in another room or at places your dog cannot see.
Touch Me: Touching your puppy every day will be a part of his upbringing. You will have to touch him frequently for various reasons like grooming, checking ticks and fleas, vet visits, etc. Hence, your dog must learn to tolerate being touched. So, it is important to run your hands over his coat every day. Massage his back, shoulders and paws. Touch his tail and remove any dirt from the ears. Lift his lips to examine the teeth. If you do this daily, your puppy will know that being examined is a part of the play session.
Agility Games: These games are meant to physically exercise the puppy and help them gain confidence. You can start the agility games by having your puppy jump over a small object. Create an obstacle in your living room with blankets and pillows and challenge your puppy to cross that. Puppies love this challenge of jumping, clearing obstacles and being praised. In these agility games, you can even teach your puppy to climb stairs and be comfortable being on the leash.
Sprinkler Games: Some puppies dislike water and the idea of bathing. Sprinkler games accustom your puppy to getting wet and being splashed. These games are also a good entertainment option during the summer months when you and your puppy want to beat the summer heat. If you want to bathe a dirty dog after a tiring physical exercise, you would want your puppy to tolerate water. Sprinkler games and doggie pools teach your puppy to get used to being cleaned and bathed.
Bottom Line: Playing these simple games can strengthen your bond with your pooch and teach them important life skills. These game sessions should only last a few minutes a day. End the game if you see your puppy getting bored or fatigued. Make sure your fido is always excited to play and is having fun while playing and learning. This will keep him motivated and ready to play again next time.