Furtropolis by Outward Hound

Why It’s Important to Play With Your Puppy

Best Toys for Puppy Playtime

Have you ever watched puppies at play? They’ll tussle with one another even as tiny pups. At the dog park, it’s not uncommon to see a ring of dogs running in a circle like they’re chasing one another. When one gets tired, they’ll simply peel off and catch their breath under a tree.

Psychologists know play is important for puppies and humans. It stimulates the brain, encourages physical activity, and strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It’s also an important part of dog training. When you take the time to play with your puppy, then you and your puppy learn to communicate. You learn to “read” your dog, your dog’s body language, and also teach your pup the rules for harmonious living with people.

4 Reasons Why Puppy Playtime Is Important

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Puppy play time is important to develop their skills. It helps pups learn social skills and confidence-building and is the foundation of basic obedience training for when they become adult dogs. Here are four reasons why play and puppy toys are so essential to your dog’s development.

1. Builds social skills

Puppy socialization is essential. When puppies play with other puppies, they’re learning. They’re learning how to share for example. Have you ever witnessed the way they’ll take turns playing with a dog toy? That’s an important skill for good behavior.

Plus, puppies who learn play behaviors are more apt to have a friendly attitude toward others than puppies who grow up without socialization. On the other hand, some pups don’t play well with others and may not be suitable for an environment like daycare. They ignore the signals from the other dogs and are too rough. If this is the case for your dog, then a dog trainer can help.

When they play with you, you’re learning to communicate with one another which strengthens your relationship. It’s also a chance for you to teach important skills and appropriate play. For example, don’t encourage them to nip at your hand in play. Rather, use a dog toy. Otherwise, during puppy training, you risk teaching them that nipping is OK.

2. Burns energy

beagle running in grass

Everyone knows puppies and small humans have tons of energy. If you don’t give them a safe way to explore it, then they’ll find a way, which could mean aggressive chewers destroying your couch cushions or some other activity that you don’t want them to do.

Everyone needs regular exercise and play can help them get it. After all, if your new pup is the fetching kind, then encourage them to play fetch by throwing the ball/stick/frisbee for them. Plan regular walks and set up play dates with other pups.

3. Builds motor skills

Young pups are often wobbly on their feet because their muscles are undeveloped. Through play, they develop balance and hand/eye coordination. Tug-of-war with a rope toy or a long plush toy with a squeaker is a great game for this.

4. Strengthens your bond

girl with a new puppy

When you play with your puppy, you have the chance to teach them in a fun way. From hide and seek to fetch, your dog looks to you for as their leader and you have the opportunity to use this as a way to build trust and communication. Relaxed, unstructured play is vital for your pup’s health and is the way you and your dog bond.

Play helps puppies grow into happy, healthy, and confident adults. Puppy classes can be a good option for socialization too. That way, they’re exposed not only to other dogs but to the car ride in getting there, being in an unfamiliar place, and learning some basic commands. All of these are important for a confident, well-adjusted pet.

Best Chew Toys for Puppies

Don’t forget that puppies need to chew! In addition to play, it’s important for teething puppies to have chew toys that will massage their sore gums as their baby teeth come out. Plus, many teething toys have different textures that scrape tartar buildup off your dog’s teeth to maintain clean teeth.

You can consider getting a kong puppy toy for chewing before they graduate to a classic kong. Puppy chews like a small Dogwood stick from Petstages are also great alternative dog chew toys. 

The Dogwood is a safe and long lasting alternative to chewing real wood sticks and has all the taste and texture of a natural tree branch, but its durability is stronger and won’t splinter and cause potential harm to your beloved pup. Puppy parents can rest easy knowing these chews avoid the choking hazard that comes with real sticks or rawhide.

New Puppy Toys for Interactive Play

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Puppy Smart Treat Puzzle Toy

Outward Hound makes a lot of dog puzzles for puppies to work their brains. The Hide-a-Squirrel, for example, comes with three squeaky squirrels that your doggy needs to get out of the tree trunk. They come in a range of sizes for both small dogs and large dogs.

Another option is the Puppy Smart by Nina Ottosson. This dog puzzle toy features nine treat hiding compartments that can be filled with kibble, dog treats, or peanut butter. Then cover with nine dog bones that release the tasty scent of treats through the top hole. 

Now that you know the importance of play on your dog’s health, how will you play with your puppy today? Will you treat them to a new toy before settling in for snuggles?          

The toys in this post and more can be found on our website, Amazon, Chewy, or your local pet store.