Exercise is vital to a young dog. Hyperactivity or excessive rouch play cna develop because the puppy is trying to meet all of its needs for activity in just a few hours.

  • Retractable leashes are very useful. They allow puppies to sniff and explore their environment and provide more opportunity for exercise on a walk.
  • Keeping puppies on a short leash (4-6 feet) greatly restricts exercise during a vital period of growth and activity.
  • Allow your puppy to run around (on a retractable leash or in a fenced in yard) before expecting him to be attentive to training and leash walking. He needs to run and work off his excess energy for a few minutes before he can fully concentrate on learning.
  • Short leashes are very helpful to use when you bring your puppy to the veterinary hospital. They allow much better control of the puppy in confined spaces; using a retractable leash at the veterinary hospital can be awkward and allows the puppy to run up to unknown dogs and perhaps animals that are sick. People and animals can be caught and/or wound up in retractable leashes as well.
  • Puppies let out freely in yards may not receive enough exercise unless you actively play with them.
  • Use environmental feeding toys to increase opportunities for mental stimulation. Examples include the “Twist and Treat” and “Tug a Jug” made by Premier.
  • Puppies playing with adult dogs and/or children should be supervised for safety.

Tug Play:

Some dogs should not be taught to play tug with a person as the dog may become too excited and difficult for some owners to control. Because of this reason tug play is often underused. Safely taught, there is scientific evidence that tug play increases control by the owner and often decreases mouthing and play biting by puppies. It can be a great way for the puppy to release some of his stored-up energy.

One long 3-4 foot rope or a piece of towel should be used for tug play. The length is important to keep the puppy’s mouth away from human hands. Take the toy out only when you, the owner, want to start playing. Let the puppy win sometimes. Sometimes the owner “wins” and holds on. To teach the puppy to let go, merely stop moving and show the puppy a treat. When the puppy opens its mouth, give the treat. You can say “release” at the same time the puppy opens its mouth. You can then start the game again, or put the toy away at the end of the game.

It is important tom be careful and conscientious with tug play. Allow most of the tugging to be done by the puppy. Hold your end still or move slightly to hold the puppy’s interest. Do not spin the puppy in a circle at the end of the rope. Overaggressive play by an owner such as dangling the puppy above the ground and jerking the rope aggressively may cause fear and injury in puppies. Always end the play on a good note with lots of verbal praise and/or a food reward. Tug play should be fun for both you and your puppy.

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