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20 Ways to Keep Your New Puppy Occupied and Happy! photo

20 Ways to Keep Your New Puppy Occupied and Happy!

So you have recently acquired or are thinking of getting a new puppy.  Exciting times are ahead, however it's important to remember to raise your puppy into a healthy, happy and well-behaved dog.  This means starting as soon as you get your new family addition.

Cute Puppy

You have already done your homework and selected the right breed to match your lifestyle and have purchased your puppy accessories which could include:- puppy harness or collar, lead, dog bed, dog bowls and a selection of puppy clothes to keep them warm (their fur isn't as thick when they are a puppy and they can feel the cold more easily when leaving the warmth of their mother).

To start off our new puppy series of help guides, let's look at 20 ways to keep your puppy occupied and happy:-

1) Plan playtime.  Make a date with your puppy each and every day.  This could be racing your puppy around the garden or in the park.  It could be throwing a ball, playing hide and seek or play wrestling (afterall, what's the point in having a dog if you can't get down on the carpet for a friendly play wrestle.  Do use common sense though).  You choose the activity, but whatever you do, make sure that you are giving your puppy your undivided attention. There is some truth in the saying that "A tired dog is a happy dog".  Bored pets lead to chewed furniture and other forms of destruction around the house.  Dogs benefit from physical and mental stimulation.

Puppy Asleep

2) Purchase high quality dog chews and try different ones to see which they like the best.  You can get longer lasting ones, ones filled with meat or you can fill a kong style chew with their favourite treats.  I buy rawhide shoes and fill these with other dog treats and it gives my girls hours of fun trying to get the treats out, playing with the rawhide shoe and then finally eating it!  Chewing is good for puppies and it is far better to munch on doggie chews than on your furniture!

3) Allow your furry friend to have their own space with their own bed.  Somewhere they can go and relax feeling safe and secure.  Puppy beds, vary from cushions, to beds with high sides for that added feeling of protection to a yurt style bed which gives a 'den' style feeling.

4) Teach your puppy a trick!  This could be sit and stay or any other trick that your puppy will enjoy doing.  Always remember reward based training works best, so reward the right behaviour with a little treat and a fuss full of well done's.  This way, your puppy will associate doing the right things with treats and attention.

5) Dance with your puppy!  Dogs love to play and will probably not understand what you are doing, but will love to join in anyhow!

6) Check out any local puppy classes or book them into Doggy Daycare.  It is important to socialise your pet to avoid any problems later in life.  Doggy Daycare is a perfect way to do this as they will get to socialise with other dogs/pups, other animals and people.  A great (and fun) way for them to learn.

7) Training School.  Taking your pet here, they can learn how to behave and you can learn the right way to train your dog.  They'll have lots of fun doing this and get to socialise with other pups and people alike.

8) Hit the water.  Most dogs love to play in water whether it is splashing through puddles, swimming in a lake or running through rivers.  Remember to keep your pooch safe and if the water is dangerous or your pet is not confident near water, fit your pet with a dog life jacket.

9) Give them a bath!  After all that splashing through muddy puddles give them a quick bath with specially formulated shampoo (always avoid their eyes - we don't like getting soap in our eyes and neither do they!).  You can buy fitted microfibre towels that slip over their head and help dry them quicker whilst keeping them warm such as Fitted Doggie Towel. Start grooming practice early so they accept hands on treatment.

10) Learn to speak Doggie Language!  Afterall they are doing their best to speak English, take the time to understand their body language so you know how they are feeling.

11) Take a ride a in the car.  If you have to nip out to get a newspaper, take your puppy with you. They'll love the excitement of riding in the car and it also gets them used to travelling, starting with short journeys.  Roll the window down a bit so they have feel the breeze on the way (weather permitting), they will love the new sights, smells and sounds.  Don't forget to safely secure your pet in the car - no matter how short the journey, try using an adjustable car seat belt for dogs.

Dog in car

12) Feed your pet twice a day (or more often when very young) at the same time each day.  So set a routine that fits in with your schedule and stick to it.  Do not feed your pet from your own plate, even with those puppy dog eyes, as he won't understand why in later life you tell him off from sitting by the table when you are eating. Give them their own bowls, one for fresh water and one for eating out of such as a dual dog bowl.  Take the time to understand what food is dangerous and potentially harmful to dogs such as chocolate, grapes, raisins etc.

13) Be gentle. Never hit, threaten, frighten or force-train your puppy.  Such strategies might result in a change of behaviour, but it won't be the kind you are after.  If you pet does something wrong, it is only because they don't understand or have not been shown the right way.  It is up to us to trian our pets correctly using reward based training and if they slip up, ignore and then try again and reward the right behaviour.  Also it is important to remember that whilst toilet training your pet - they will have accidents and some cannot be helped.  Do not scold them, instead, when they go outside to the toilet - reward them with a treat and love!  It is the only way.

14) Bond with your puppy, enjoy a cuddle with them or give them a massage - they will love this.

15) Use their name, but ensure they associate thier name with good things.  Randomly call their name and offer some fuss or even just a smile. This reinforces a positive associate with their name.

16) Buy about 10 different dog toys.  Don't give them all at once, maybe two or three at the most and then switch them regularly to keep them occupied.

17) Pretend to be a dog.  A great way of interacting with your pet is to get down and play dog!  They won't get what you are doing, but they will have lots of fun nonetheless.

18) Talk the talk.  Believe it or not, your dog will benefit if you do talk to him.  It helps them to become more familiar with your voice in different situations and can become relaxing for them.  Did you know that your dog will probably be the best keeper of secrets you ever had!

19) Walk, Walk, Walk.  Wherever you are going, walk your dog with you, if it is to the shops, to a friends house or to pick up the kids from school.  Your new puppy will love exploring and sniffing the latest dog news.  Let them sniff - this is their daily news and essential for them to learn about their world. This will keep him fit, build his strength and tire him out! If your dog pulls on a lead, you may find you are better off with a puppy harness as opposed to a puppy collar for walkies.

Man  Walking dog

20) Make their tail wag!  I love this one. Set yourself a challenge of seeing how many times you can make that tail wag without actually touching the dog.  Use body language, intonation and different sounds.  Your pet will love this interaction.  Then give them a big fuss and love.


Remember all dogs are unique and are motivated in different ways and it is up to us as dog owners to understand what really gets your dog's tail (or little stump) wagging!



Published in: A Dog's Life  |  07 Jun 2016