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Friday, May 21, 2010

Managing Your Puppy's Endless Energy

by Carrie Boyko

(c)Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved
Get the Ball Out? 
Are You Kidding Me?

Let's face it, your first couple of months with a new puppy is going to be challenging, no matter how perfect your puppy may turn out to be. This post is designed to help you with just one of the many challenges a puppy will present: his seemingly endless energy. Here's some tips:
  1. Physical exercise is key: Long walks, runs, and vigorous playtime will all result in a tired pup who needs to rest. This will be your chance to get something else done.
  2. Mental energy needs to be drained also. This can be done with training exercises, practicing discipline like 'stay', and challenging toys that encourage your puppy to develop problem solving skills. In the photo above, Oliver tries to remove the ball from he tube; this is a wonderful problem solving toy that doubles as a chew toy--totally indestructible for Oliver's small teeth, yet soft and satisfying to chew on.
  3. Treat balls are another form of problem solving that also will keep your pup following the ball around the floor, as he tries to figure out where the yummies are coming from, and how to get them flowing faster. And what a hoot to watch a pup with a treat ball. They never bore of this toy.
  4. Leash training should begin as soon as your pup comes home. Walks will begin as short laps around the block, encouraging your little one to follow you with sweet talk and an occasional treat to keep him moving. Gradually add to the length as he begins to follow you eagerly.
  5. Safe chewing toys such as Kongs, some ropes, Nylabones, and filled ceramic bones all serve the same purpose; I call these busy bones. Anything safe to chew that will occupy your puppy for 15 minutes or more is a good way to tire him out while he's in his crate or you need time away from him.
  6. Always remember to reward and praise your puppy when he behaves appropriately. If you leave, and then return to find him quietly resting in his crate, make a big deal out of it. Lots of affection at these times will help to get the point across: this is what you want from him.
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