Playing With Your Puppy

Play is your puppy's way of learning about his environment and where he fits in. A puppy's play with his siblings teaches him his role in the pack hierarchy. Your puppy's breeder should be able to tell you if he showed dominant or submissive tendencies. Many breeders temperament test their litters to determine each puppy's response to stimuli.

I have already discussed chewing or nipping behavior. If  your puppy insists on mouthing or chewing on your hand, tell him "No, bad teeth" and give him a toy to chew instead. Be consistent with this, do not allow the puppy to chew on any other family member, particularly your children. It may be cute now, but it most definitely will not be cute when he gets bigger and stronger.



Tug of war is a favorite game. A few words of caution about this game. If your puppy is showing dominant traits, this game could encourage that behavior. It is easy for this game to tip over the edge and become an out and out battle of wills. Never let him win. If you have a submissive, timid puppy this game is a great way to build confidence. You may have difficulty encouraging him to grab hold at first, any small show of confidence should be praised. It is okay to let the submissive puppy win a little. Again, do not let things get out of hand. Stop while you are still in control. I have already mentioned some suitable toys for chewing. Squeak toys are great fun (though a bit noisy), be careful of cheaply made toys as puppies have been known to chew out the squeaker and choke. My puppies love stuffed toys.


Remove eyes and noses as these are the first things puppy will try to chew. I am not sure if they are attracted to faces or if they are just aware of a different texture. Tennis balls are good fun, run them through the wash a few times to dilute the dye. Keep a toy box with a nice selection of toys handy for your puppy. He will probably empty it out several times a day. Rotate his toys to keep the selection interesting.


Information was obtained from Kathy Belville Romyldale Shetland Sheepdogs, and permission
was given to copy.  Please ask before copying.

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Playing with your puppy