Puppy games are a great way to teach your pet control and discipline. They're also the source of lots of fun and excitement, and can help you bond with your dog. What's not to like about that?
Here's 7 good reasons why you should teach your Cocker Spaniel to play:
'Fetch It!' is one of the best puppy games you can play with your dog. I guarantee he'll love it!
Job done! How easy was that?
Although Cocker Spaniels are natural retrievers, you may need to work on this puppy game a little at first, so be patient!
I don't know of any dogs that don't like to play tug of war, but it's a game that can have a potential down side. I recommend you read the 'rules of engagement' I've listed below before you go on to the game itself.
Tug-of-war puppy games can be great play for puppies and dogs; teaching and reinforcing self-control and obedience, however, there are some strict rules to follow.
You must always play tug-of-war games using your rules, not your puppy's - you must control the game at all times!
That said, let's begin playing tug of war!
Tugging is a natural instinct for a dog. It's how they feed in the wild by stripping flesh from a carcass. It should be pretty instinctive for your puppy to pull and 'rag' a toy.
Your Puppy's Not Interested?
But what if your pup doesn't seem to know what to do, or is disinterested?
Try tugging gently or wriggling the rope to emulate the movement of prey. Don't pull too hard, just apply enough pressure to make him hold onto the rope. He'll soon catch on!
Does He Become Aggressive?
Tug-of-war games are meant to teach your puppy self-control, so if he becomes over-excited, or begins to growl in a less than playful manner, stop the game immediately and put the rope away. This is probably not a good game for your puppy to play. Find an alternative.
He Refuses To Let Go Of The Rope
If your puppy refuses to drop the rope, let go of your end and walk away. Play must stop immediately. Don't praise him, and don't offer him any treats. If there's no-one holding the other end of the rope, he can't play tug-of-war!
When he loses interest and drops the rope, pick it up and put it away, out of his reach.
You may want to practice the 'Drop It!' exercise before you allow your puppy to play again.
Most dogs enjoy playing 'Find It!' puppy games but your Cocker Spaniel puppy will especially love this game as he's a natural hunter and retriever!
And as well as being great fun, it's a good way of using up your dog's energy, both physically and mentally.
Don't worry if he doesn't find them quickly; the idea is to stimulate your puppy's mind and get him to work off any excess energy.
Teaching your Cocker Spaniel to play puppy games will keep him occupied for ages...well, at least until you've enjoyed a quiet cuppa on your own!
Play Hide And Seek With Your Dog!
Who would have thought puppy training games would have included hide and seek?
This is the same as the children's game of hide and seek but it's much more fun to play with your Cocker Spaniel puppy!
Before you begin any puppy play, always ask him to 'Sit' and 'Wait'.
Now, go and hide somewhere in the house. Make it easy for him at first; let him see where you 'hide'.
Call him to you and wait.
If he doesn't find you after a couple of minutes, call him again.
When he finds you, let him have a treat and give him lot's of praise.
After a couple of successful games, you can move into another room to hide - but don't make it too difficult for him just yet.
It's enough at this stage that he finds which room you're in.
When your puppy begins to find you easily, make the game more challenging for him by hiding behind a door or furniture in another room.
Hide and seek is a good game for your puppy to play as it will teach him to respond more quickly to your recall command.
If he doesn't find you after a couple of minutes, call him again.
'Hide and seek' will have him (and you) tired out in no time. It's a great game to play before bedtime!
Never allow your puppy to initiate play. You should control when puppy play begins and when it stops; you are the pack-leader!
If you teach your puppy that he must sit and wait before he's allowed to play one of his pupy games it will not only establish that you are in control, but it will also help to reinforce your puppy's obedience training.
Always stop play before your puppy becomes bored. Leave him wanting more to keep him keen!
Don't let him wander off with the toy when the games are over; he should only be allowed to play with these when you say so - they are your toys!
Always give instructions using a firm tone of voice to get his attention and co-operation.
A high pitched, excited, squeaky voice will not establish any control. In fact, it will only serve to heighten your puppy's excitemen, which may mean he's less likely to listen to your instructions.
Don't over-excite your Cocker during puppy play.
Over-stimulation may be caused by teasing or taunting your puppy with a toy before throwing it to him, for example, dangling the toy above his head, or hiding it behind your back.
Whilst this may seem like fun, a puppy
who's taught to play in this way soon becomes over-excited,
which can lead to an increase in dominance; encouraging him to become more pushy, boisterous, and ultimately, very difficult to control.
The only time when teasing is allowed is if your puppy is timid and shy. Teasing in this way can help to bring him 'out of his shell' and build his confidence, as well as teaching him how to play and have fun!
Don't allow puppy games that involve tug-of-war with your fingers, hands, or clothing - you need to establish that you are his pack leader and not simply a member of his pack. See above 'rules of engagement'.
Don't chase, or play similar games, with your pup until he's fully trained - find out why here!
Play-fighting is not a good game to play with your dog. That's because it teaches him that it's okay to jump up and wrestle with humans and encourages mouthing, biting, and chasing.
Play-fighting puppy games can also provoke leadership challenges and encourage dominant behaviours in dogs. This can be especially dangerous in already confident, dominant dogs.
Don't allow your puppy to demand your attention. If he displays attention-seeking behaviour, ignore him - attention should be given only on your terms.
There are two different types of toys available to your Cocker Spaniel puppy.
There's pacifier toys, which are toys he can chew and play with on his own, and interactive toys such as balls, ropes, and Frisbees, which are the toys he shares with you.
Your puppy should be free to play with his pacifier toys, but keep the interactive toys hidden away from him. The interactive toys are those you use to initiate play.
I hope you and your puppy enjoy these puppy games, but before we go, in case you've not yet discovered this for yourselves, dogs love soap bubbles!
Whether they're bubbles spilling over the tub at bath time, or they're blown from the bottles of liquid bubbles you can buy for children - dogs love them!
Try blowing bubbles for your Cocker Spaniel puppy and watch his expression as he chases and 'catches' his first soap bubble.
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