When you bring a new dog into your family, one of the most challenging aspects can be new puppy care.  Games can help relieve some of the tension in the process, for both you and your puppy.   As with humans, it is easier for a puppy to learn when they are having fun.  Puppy games stimulate their mind, and have the added benefit of tiring them out, an extra bonus if you have a very active puppy.

Types of Puppy Care Games

One of the most common types of games you can play with a puppy is fetch and/or catch.  This can also be incorporated into the training for your puppy.  When beginning, start with a game of fetch.    Grab a stick, ball, bone, Frisbee, anything that will attract your puppy’s interest.  Throw it while saying, “fetch.”  Have a treat in hand for your puppy when he successfully retrieves it for you and be sure to give him lots of praise.    As you and your dog become more proficient in this game, progress to a game of catch encouraging him to catch it while the object is still in the air.    This is good practice for agility training later on down the road.

Another good game to play with your puppy is hide and seek.    The basic concept is to take a small object and hide it underneath an object, essentially a shell game.  While you can buy dog game sets for this, my dog trainer suggested hiding a rubber ball underneath empty margarine tubs.    Start with simply putting the ball under the container and setting it up.   Let your puppy work through how to uncover the ball.    When this gets too easy for him, then add in the other containers so that he not only has to uncover it, but also has to figure out which one it is under.    This is an excellent game for an indoor dog that is extremely active.  If he still has excess energy after your walks, add in this game to keep him mentally occupied while he is indoors.

Some of the best play your puppy will experience will be that he has with other dogs.  Just like children, your puppy enjoys interacting and socializing with other dogs.  Schedule a play date with someone that has a friendly dog.  They can have hours of fun chasing, tussling, and “talking” to each other.

The early months of your puppy’s growth are an excellent time for the two of you to bond and for him to acclimate and socialize with your family and others.  Adding in puppy care games to the standard routine can give you both a welcome variety as well as add some fun.