How do I play with my new puppy? Tips and Tricks

How To Play With A Puppy While Training Her

Getting your puppy comfortable going into a crate or bed is one of the earliest goals of training. So why not make a game out of it?

Toss tiny treats inside and around the crate while she gets used to walking in and out without fear. Then up the ante by occasionally closing the door after she walks inside.

Then let her out again and start over.

This is one of those puppy training games for the whole family to get in on!

Have everyone stand in a big circle in the backyard. Simply take turns calling your pup’s name and give big snuggles and a treat when she trots over to you.

It seems simple, but we always end up having a laugh at the antics that puppies get into when they start running around the circle looking for who has called!

You don’t have to be a trainer to teach your puppy words with this simple game.

Pick two objects and set them in front of your puppy. Say the name of one object a few times, and wait.

When your puppy eventually sniffs the correct object, say “GOOD GIRL!” and give her a treat.

Repeat, using the same object as the target a few times before repeating the same thing with another object.

Then alternate back and forth and see how many sessions of this game it takes for your dog to know the names of the objects!

How To Play With A Puppy using Socialization

Socialization isn’t just about playing with other dogs. It’s about having a well-rounded dog in various environments and situations.

Here are some puppy games that develop those skills.

Going for a walk is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to socialize your puppy.

Potty Break. Check. Exercise. Check. Brain Stimulation. Check. Socialization. Check.

The point is to mix it up with keeping your puppy on a tight lead for polite walks versus leisurely strolls with a little more leash to sniff around and explore.

If it’s raining you can always take a trip to pet-friendly retailers for added socialization and exploration.

Not just pet stores, but Home Depot, Lowes, Bass Pro Shops, even Barnes & Noble and the Apple Stores welcome leashed pooches.

Please note, puppies should be fully vaccinated before introducing them to other pets.

A fun way to desensitize your puppy to a variety of noises is to play this game.

Gather a basket of objects from around the house and hide it behind your back.

One by one, make noise with each object while your dog looks on, probably confused.

Then show him the object and let him sniff it and explore it while you make the noise again with the object in plain sight.

This could include your shaking keys, dropping a small pan on the floor, crinkling some plastic wrap, or clicking a ball-point pen.

It may not occur to you to introduce your puppy to the family car, but you should!

Not only will it be an interesting exploratory activity to do together, it will help next time you have to take your pup for a car ride so they won’t be scared of this steel moving giant!

Walking around the car together, opening and closing doors, honking the horn, and letting him jump in and out are good activities.

If your puppy is known for bolting out of doorways to go explore, teach them calm thresholds where they learn to pause in doorways and wait for permission from you to enter or leave. Each time you go through a doorway (this includes your pup’s crate!) have your pup Sit and wait for your command, then calmly release them. If you are walking alongside your pup, make sure to lead them first and have them follow, or walk out together to instill this good habit. You can learn more about threshold training in our blog: Teach Your Puppy Not to Bolt Out of Doorways!

Believe it or not, you don’t need a ton of space to play Fetch with your puppy! Yes, as they get bigger and older and better with it, you will probably want to expand the distance, but while they’re learning and still growing, smaller spaces can do just fine! We even encourage using a leash to start with to help guide your pup back and prevent them from wandering off.

Start off by having your puppy sit. Then, throw their ball or toy as you say “Fetch”, and have your puppy run to catch it! Then, call them back by using their name and “Come”. Not only is this game great for their physical exercise, but you are also working on challenging command combinations and recall. For more tips for teaching your pup Fetch, check out “Puppyhood Made Easy for New Owners: How to Play with Your Puppy Pt. 2!”

For our favorite obedience command routines and how to teach your puppy to Heel with the exercises we mentioned above, our Online Puppy School goes over all these activities you can do right at home with your puppy! Check out The Puppy Academy Online School for more details and to sign up today!

If your puppy goes crazy for their food, practice putting them in Place and waiting while you prepare their meal. Then have them remain in a Sit or Down as you slowly lower them to the floor. If they move towards the bowl, lift it back up and reset them in their position and try again. This can take some time over several days to get the hang of, so be patient! Use your pup’s leash or have them go in their crate to help you practice this in the beginning stages while they’re learning. When you’re able to get the bowl on the ground without them going for it, calmly tell the “Break” to release them to eat their food.

How to Train WITH Play with Your NEW PUPPY! How to Train Without Treats!