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How to Play with Your Puppy

Learn how to play with your puppy from dog trainer Robert Haussmann of Dogboy, Inc. in this Howcast video.


How to play with your puppy. It may sound silly, but it's actually a great opportunity for teaching. So when you are playing with your puppy, it's important that you can control the game. So if it's a game like tug-of-war, for instance, a lot of books will tell you not to play tug-of-war. I think it's a great game, as long as you have control, and it's a great way to teach your dog how to use their mouth. So you can teach a dog to take a tug toy, drop a tug toy, and leave a tug toy alone. It's a great way to teach them life skills like take it, drop it, and leave it.

Also, when a dog is nipping or playing with a toy with you, whether it's fetch or if you're just wrestling with the dog, and the dog bites down a little too hard, especially with a puppy, you can teach a dog that that actually ends the game. So biting too hard or biting something that's not a toy ends the game that we were just playing, having so much fun doing. So the dog can learn really fast what works and what doesn't work. And biting and using its mouth inappropriately just doesn't work for the dog.

Now in puppies, they have to learn something called bite inhibition by the time they're 18 weeks old, which means they learn how to use their mouth appropriately. Because let's face it, it's a possibility that you step on a paw, you close their tail in a door, or a toddler or a kid runs into them or falls on top of them or something, and the dog does nip, it's important that the dog learns how to use its mouth and not bite so hard that it's causing damage. Same thing for scraps, getting into fights with other dogs and things like that. These are things that sometimes happen. These are social creatures. So it's a great way to teach them how to use their mouth and how to play appropriately. And that's how you play with your puppy.

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