Playing with your Puppy

Puppies usually start to play with each other at about 2 ½ weeks old.  Initially they are crawling on each other and biting; as their mobility increases the wrestling and biting increases.  As they get older they will begin barking at each other to initiate play, sometimes even baring their teeth.  Once toys are introduced, stealing or grabbing of toys and getting everyone to chase you is the new game.  But that game usually ends in a tackle with biting and fighting over toys.  This is how dogs play! 

Home Sweet Home: 

You bring your puppy home, you want to lie on the floor and cuddle with him because he is so cute and then he is jumping on your head and biting you.  Time to call the dog trainer because “I don’t want him to be nasty!”  Or even better, he is running around and won’t come to you when you call him because he is “Defiant”.  WRONG 

It’s not about you: 

Just like when you have a baby, your life is no longer about you, it’s about the baby.  The same holds true for getting a puppy, you have to play in a way that teaches the puppy that biting is not good on human skin.  That may mean there is no cuddling until the puppy is asleep.  Also, if you are on the floor, you are another puppy, so stand up and be the Alpha.   

How To play and exercise 

Long walks to tire the puppy out; and not stopping and sniffing, you want to keep the puppy moving at a constant pace. Yes, he may not have all of his shots, keep him on the sidewalk or road and keep him away from other dog’s feces.  He has enough immunity from his mother’s milk that this is ok to do.   You can play fetch and tug of war but keep the puppy on the leash so he can’t run from you. 

No Wrestling 

No one in the house should be wrestling with the dog.  This will teach the dog that it is acceptable to jump all over humans and bite them.  This is never acceptable.  

Playtime is over 

If you are done playing, it’s ok to put your puppy in his crate to rest.  Yes, a puppy is a huge time commitment and if you are not ready for that you shouldn’t have bought one; but if he has received enough exercise, crate him. Stop putting your puppy in a position to get in trouble.  Take him out for play times where you can direct the biting on a toy with you and then put him back in his crate.  Nonstop biting is what puppies do and it’s not fair to expect a puppy to act like an adult dog or to continually place him in situations he gets into trouble. 


My puppies are crated when I am not paying attention to them.  They do not have the run of the house.  They come out at times when I can give them my undivided attention and that means no texting, television or phone calls; if I have to answer the door, they go in the crate.  It’s the puppy’s time with me, undivided attention.  The reason I do this, is they will get into trouble and I do not want to put them in a position to make mistakes or do what puppies do and then have to reprimand them.  Also, if I’m not watching them they may scoop up a sock or chew up something dangerous.  Puppies are oral, everything goes in their mouths.  If they have my undivided attention, they will always be safe. 


If you don’t like a behavior, think about your puppy like a puppy not a dog or a human.  Stay one step ahead of misbehavior and make sure you are walking your puppy a lot.  A tired puppy is a good puppy.