Puppies, like children, are very prone to boredom. They have a constant need for stimulation and as their energy reserves grow their need for entertainment lasts for longer periods of time.
Dogs are pack animals; they thrive on companionship and interaction. Puppies in particular need entertainment to help their mental development and to help burn off energy and beat the boredom, says Ryan O'Meara.
Some breeds of dog are naturally more energetic than others and needs lots of mental stimulation, like the Border Collie, Siberian Husky, German Shepherd Dog and Dalmatian, but all puppies need to be mentally challenged in order to develop in to a well rounded adult.
Most high energy breeds were originally designed to work for long periods of time without tiring and are generally very intelligent with a natural desire to carry out their original tasks. Because of this they can get bored quite easily if they do not receive adequate amount of physical and mental activity. Non working breeds are not exempt. All dogs need to be challenged and stimulated mentally and physically and beginning this process when they are pups is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
From the moment your puppy comes into your life teaching him that coming to you when called is nothing short of the best thing in the world for him to experience. Puppies can’t resist humans who sit down on the floor with legs spread apart, so while they’re easily persuaded to come by this very simple gesture, make the most of it by using their name, sparingly, but making a huge fuss when puppy arrives.
Try it at times when pup is pre-occupied with something interesting and make coming back to you the most enjoyable and rewarding experience in the world for him or her. You will really see the benefits as the dog gets older. Regular bouts of 'come!' not only keep your puppy highly entertained, you're also teaching a lesson that will last a lifetime.
4. It's magic!
There's no better audience for your magic tricks than an eager puppy. Place a treat under one of three cups and have your pup try to find the right one. Mix the cups up and really encourage puppy to identify where the treat is in order to get the reward. Seriously, this is so much fun you'll enjoy as much as they do!
3. Treasure hunt!
With your puppy asleep, quietly go about hiding a series of treats and his favourite toys in interesting places around the home. When your puppy wakes, begin taking him to the hiding places and say 'seek' or 'find it'. Click your fingers and be animated. At first the pup will just be interested in you and won't understand what's going on so you'll have to physically show him where things are. Don't worry, he'll soon cotton on to this game and he'll LOVE it.
As he gets more accomplished, make the game harder and eventually you should be looking to be able to stand still and get him to begin hunting just by clicking your fingers and issuing the command. This game is both physically and mentally rewarding so it's ideal to play with puppies of all ages.
2. Put it away!
OK, now this is a challenge. A real challenge. But you read K9 Magazine, right? You're already way beyond the 'average' dog owner. You can do this. I believe in you. Ready?
You're going to teach your dog how to put their own toys back in their basket. You're going to teach your dog to fetch. That's easy. Done? OK. Now you're going to teach them the word 'drop'. Not too tough?
Now you're going to teach them to pick up, fetch and drop the toy in the toy basket (you need a ground level toy basket and it needs to be empty when teaching this trick).
To begin, place the basket in front of you and ask puppy to 'drop' when they're in prime position over the basket. When they do, click and reward. You're going to work on this a lot and eventually you're headed toward the command 'put it away'. Your puppy will pick up or carry the toy toward the toy basket and drop the toy in there.
This trick takes lots of short, little sessions and those sessions will be fun and stimulating for him. As the sessions get more accomplished you'll head toward the ultimate goal of completing a successful pick up and put away. Once you've mastered this one you've got one heck of a trick to impress your friends with.
Time, patience, fun and the pay off is well, well worth it. (When you've got it done, send us a video. We want to see!)
1. Brushing up!
Grooming has the triple benefit of helping you strengthen the bond with your pup, physically stimulating them and, well, keeping them well groomed. Whether you have a short-haired breed or a shaggy dog, daily grooming is something that your pup will learn to love. They'll come to you and encourage you to do it.
By regularly giving your pup short, fun sessions with the brush and by teaching them that being around you is a relaxing, calm and very pleasant experience you'll be achieving something very powerful. That bond you build from grooming your puppy will last a lifetime. It teaches confidence, it entertains them and do you know what...it relaxes you too! Regular physical contact with pets has been shown to lower blood pressure and increase human longevity. How could you and your puppy not enjoy something as great as that?