If a puppy has moved into your home, it might need time to adapt to a new environment. In the beginning, the main thing is giving a sense of security to your puppy. Give it time to explore the house. After a few days, you will recognise that your little housemate is becoming more confident. Now is the time to find ways to entertain your puppy.
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Go on an expedition
Satisfy your puppy's curiosity with a little expedition: start slowly by exploring your immediate environment, for instance, the garden. It's important for you to always stay calm so that your dog learns that unknown territory doesn't necessarily mean danger. At the same time, teach your puppy to always poop or pee outdoors. Short car journeys, the first trip to the vet and visits from friends can all act as little adventures enabling your dog to learn and ultimately become confident and calm as adults.
Development and socialisation
The time between the age of 8 and 16 weeks is considered a crucial phase - during this time development and socialisation play a particularly significant role. If you also own a cat, introduce your puppy to them no later than during this stage and make sure they regularly meet dogs of different sizes. A dog school is an ideal place for this.
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Learning? Tastes good!
Learning isn't just for dog school – you can integrate it into your daily routine. Repeating basic obedience lessons will help your puppy to memorise them. Always practise for just a few minutes to not overwhelm your dog. Give plenty of praise and never punish. Make learning tasty for your dog: hand out treats for correct behaviour. A high-quality dog kibble is a sufficient and healthy treat option.
Tips for training and rewards
Young dogs only have a low attention span – train for just a few minutes and always end short sessions on a high note with a tasty treat. Simply use your companion's main dry food as a tasty reward. Weigh the daily intake and distribute them over the course of the day. This is fun for your dog and lowers the risk of it gaining weight. It is always best to feed your puppy food tailored to its specific needs. For instance, Happy Dog has biscuits suitable for many needs: whether you need junior or senior food, mini biscuits or hypoallergenic food.
Relaxed on the go
Keeping puppies entertained on walks is easy, but even here you should start with small steps! You can use a simple rule of thumb to estimate the maximum amount of time for which you should take your dog on a walk: for each month of its life, you can give it 5 minutes walkies. For example, if your puppy is 4 months old, the walk should last approximately 20 minutes. Too long journeys can put too much strain on its skeleton and muscles. Gently restrain your dog if it is too boisterous. Your companion is only considered of adult age between 12 to 18 months, depending on its size. Avoid climbing stairs with young dogs and get consent from the vet before starting with dog sports.
Plenty of fun
Search games are also a great way to entertain your puppy and are crucial for intellectual enrichment. Hide treats or dry food in your home or garden and let the puppy find them. Slowly increase the level of difficulty. A very entertaining game for both owner and dog is the dog treat game with paper cups. Turn all upside down and hide a treat underneath one. Use regular junior food from the age of six months, which is tailored to young dogs and also has slightly larger biscuits than puppy food.
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What are good puppy toys?
Many dogs lose their enthusiasm for playing when they get older, especially large breeds. So enjoy the puppy phase while you can. Dog toys can offer a varied and fun way to entertain puppies. A bouncing ball is perfect as a chase toy, though make sure that your puppy doesn't overexert itself and the ball cannot be swallowed. Soft toys for dogs with or without sound are very popular, so treat your young dog to a few plush playmates that it can proudly present as prey or get comfort from. Ropes and Rings are great toys for tug of war and to chew on, which can also be useful for teething puppies. Mental games challenge your dog's intellect. However, these are more suitable for slightly older dogs as very young puppies often can't focus well enough yet.
Strength lies in serenity
Young dogs sleep a lot and can spend up to 20 hours a day snoozing and resting! It's hardly surprising, because they have plenty to process and rest periods are important. It may sound strange, but it is also important to teach your puppy how to rest. If you are constantly entertaining and “pushing” your puppy, it is likely that it will grow into a needy adult dog and will have a hard time resting. This is why you should make sure to get plenty of cuddle time with your puppy.