Games provide an excellent opportunity for you to get close to your dog, to bond with him and to build up your friendship. Time spent in playing games can be rewarding physically and mentally both for you and for your dog. Your dog will also benefit from the positive outlet which playing with you provides, and he will be less likely to develop dangerous or destructive tendencies.
Playing games is useful in teaching your puppy and will help you to shape his behavior, ensuring obedience as he grows up. As your puppy learns through playing he become easier to teach, and progressively he becomes a faster learner. However, whilst playing games is a fantastic way to spend time with your dog, there are some “dos” and “don’ts” to make sure that you make the most of the time spent at play.
Don’t Do These Things
Take care not to over-stimulate your puppy whilst playing. He will respond to your behavior, and so you do not want to behave in a way that he might view as a challenge or as teasing. As such, do not chase your dog, and do not play at aggressive wrestling or fighting games. Certain breeds of dog will respond aggressively to such play.
Do not let your dog determine when you give him attention. It is for you to decide when attention is given, and when play time is allowed.
Do These Instead
Make sure that you have a variety of appropriate toys for your dog to play with. He will benefit from having a number of chew toys which act as pacifiers, and also some interactive toys which may squeak or may be pulled at when playing “tug of war”. With time and effort on your part, you will be able to teach your puppy which objects may be chewed and that all other items are unacceptable choices for him.
Consider how you use your voice when you are playing with your dog. He will be able to tell the difference between a high pitch or squeaky voice which might result in his excitement, and a firm, low tone which denotes leadership which he must obey.
Also take note of your body language and positioning when playing and establishing control of a game. When you stand tall and make eye contact you are exerting your dominant position and display leadership. Whereas when you crouch low you may invite jumping or nipping and excitable play from your puppy.
Remember that it is your choice when play time begins and ends. You decide when chew toys and interactive toys may be played with, and for how long. Playing games of control will allow you the opportunity to train your dog to obey commands such as “sit”, “fetch”, “drop it” and “leave”. Remember to reward your dog as he learns and progressively develops good behavior.