Playing safely with your puppy

You are likely to find your new puppy irresistible and spend a lot of time in the first few weeks of bringing him home playing with, spoiling and entertaining him. However, you should be careful when you are playing with your new puppy that you are not encouraging him to form bad habits and bad behaviour. By continuing to fuss and play with your puppy, it is like saying ‘well done’ and he will continue with what he is doing. If you do this when the puppy is being naughty, he will of course continue to be naughty.

Puppies will often bite when they are playing and this can be because they are teething and biting can massage and soothe their gums. However, a puppy that bites when playing can become a problem if you allow this to continue as the dog matures. The puppy could begin to bite if he wants to claim something like a toy – or even your hand or foot! For this reason, the puppy needs to be told not to bite during play even from a young age.

A game of pulling with your puppy can seem like great fun and puppies are prone to bringing you a toy and encouraging a game of pulling and shaking the toy. However, a puppy should surrender the toy to you and you should stop playing with your puppy if he tries to pull the toy from your hand or shake the toy violently. It is important that your puppy does not play aggressively or become too territorial over his toys.