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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any suggestions for mentally stimulating games I can play with my pup? She's almost 17 weeks old, and full of puppy energy:) I'm looking for ways to make her happier indoors everyday, but especially on rainy days like we've had today when we can't get out for our walks, and hikes in the woods. I have tried kong toys filled with treats, balls that dispense treats, hide and seek, and of course our short training sessions. Thanks :)
 

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joie de vivre
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On those days I would take my pup to a dog-friendly store and we'd walk around for a bit, meet new people, get her a new toy. It's amazing how socializing can wear out a pup. And then she has a new toy to play with when you get home.

Puzzle type toys work well for holding their interest and tiring them out. We also played a lot of tug, hide-n-seek, worked on little things like sit, down, shake, speak, etc.
 
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This is what i start with:
- check out a few of my posts, and the embedded video links (specifically post #7):
- plus the Leerburg ones, has some great training/play videos http://www.dobermantalk.com/puppy-corner/66669-shy-pup.html

I concentrate on the basics more, in the earliest puppy period:
- COME & SIT (first)
- FETCH & COME with tennis ball & frisbee (rotate them).......on my "A" List
- TUG-OF WAR......fun way to curb boredom.........................on my "A" List
- STAY
- DOWN
- Soft Bite Control........................................... .................on my "A" List
I do these initially, as a foundation for eye & ear focus & bonding...then other dog commands, are easier to master.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much. I will try some of those things, and watch those videos. As far as tug of war, do I always have to win, or do you suggest I let her win sometimes? Tug of war would be a new one for me.
 

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joie de vivre
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I'd let her win sometimes, more often than not as a pup. It helps build their confidence. Games aren't much fun if they never get to win. :)
 

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Teach her a new trick every month :) last months trick was bow, this month it's spin.

Hide kibble all around the house and say 'go find it'

Get her used to unusual ground and objects (step on wood, cement, grate, long grass, rocks e t. Play tug of war surrounded by boxes, brooms, crates, and tarps)
 

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Good Gracious, Gracie!
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I only play bubbles with the dogs when it rains.

Ice cube hockey is also good.

Bully sticks to chew.

We play ball inside, too, though much more sedately than outside.

We also play outside if it's not pounding rain. Diva requires her raincoat, as she does melt in the rain. Gracie doesn't seem to care about rain.
 

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Daily Tug-Of-War engagement, is a major reason for my puppies successful development...it is simply a Key Success Factor (KSF).
And if your puppy can play growl at you, so much the better...and YES, it always wins...sometimes quickly, sometimes more delayed, but truly wins in the end.
So the human controlls the duration of the game, and it helps if Mom or Dad growls to, you want your dog to know it can play dog with you, can rough house a little, while it never gets hurt...but pushed enough to make it fun.
^^^^ The game sets up the pups eye and ear focus, on its master and it knows the master lets them win.
It builds much loving bond, but most of all...you are training it through confidence play with the desire to learn, the biiggest gift you could possibly share with your pup.
Kind of killing 2 birds, with 1 stone...physical & mental exercise (focus), all at the same time / and the generated bond and respect, comes freely.

My girl was soft and sensitive, from the litter.
Through much early play, sitting on the living room floor / she became confident, in herself, balanced & humanily smart...while still loving and respectful of her familk pack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Beaumont67 what do you use to play tug with your pups? My girl is quite timid around new people, and I'd love to build her confidence, as well as her bond with me. Thanks so much for all of the great advice and ideas!
 

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IsaBELLA1 - her is my early puppy lesson plan / Beaumont "A" list,...I summarized for you (hope it helps your Bella):

Got Amy as a puppy, in Feburary 2000...snow on the ground, so trained her sitting on the living room floor.
In hindsight, this had amazing results vs. trying to start training outside.
- controlled space, left me in charge
- no outside distractions and further confusion
- sitting on the floor, got my eye level lower and therefore, no intimidation factor

FETCH:
When Amy was 9 weeks old I first taught her "fetch" with a medium size frisbee.
- bait her with the toy, while she is crawling all over my legs
- toss the frisbee beside the TV while giving out the words "AMY FETCH"
- when she mouthed the toy and picked up the toy with her teeth, gave out the words "AMY COME"
- when she returned I said "AMY TA TA" followed by "GOOD GIRLY" with lots of praise/love/kisses, every time
In one weeks time she knew 3 important words, loved to play, and most of all...saw me as the leader and a fun person.

TUG:
Next we went to Tug-of-War games...and this builds the eye focus and confidence.
Used a stuffy toy with a rope on the end...or an old sock.
Just bought a bolistic nylon duck at TSC...vibrant color, squeeker in body, rope on tail.
- toy like this becomes the prize, only for special tug activity.
I don't train with treats, and want my dog to be extremely toy driven instead.
- so sitting on the floor, dobe pup crawling over you...shake the prized toy in the dogs face and encourage the toy to get attacked.
- hang on to the rope while wiggling it and providing pull resistance...getting dog to pull with all its might and allow it to slowely backup, release and it wins (like always)
- encourage pup to play growl...this Dad growls too...LOL
- repeat / repeat / repeat (talk and play much...make it an exciting time and pup will learn and love hearing your voice (bond created)

SOFT BITE:
I constantly talk to my pup and always look into its eyes...totally communicate and engage with it.
Next I grab a tennis ball (the cheap WalMart ones are dangerous...they split / buy pro quality ones).
Windup pup with ball and roll it to the side of the TV...remember we taught FETCH/COME before...learning is build on stepping stones or building blocks.
Talk excited, command the dog to FETCH and then COME back, then pup climbs up on your legs.
This time you don't want the pup to drop the toy, you put your hand on the tennis ball...and play a little TUG with it...with a difference.
Now you rotate your hand & fingers in the pups mouth, and train it with soft bite jaws (muzzle control).
If the puppy teeth hurt, clamping down on your hand, you YELP out a HURT sound.
Dog relaxes its jaw muscles, then your praise/hug/kiss...and repeat/repeat/repeat.
Pup is learning to respect you as the pack leader, in the family.
Even at bed time, my Amy and I would have 5 minutes of "fight night" and another few minutes of "fight night" when morning came...playing on the masters bed.

While Amy is a senior girl now (11.4 y/o)...her video will show you the level of focus she offers me, and trusts me with her safety.
- I had her working for me and engaging in me, this good...as a pup / confidence building & desire to learn, all through systematic play
Dobe Amy controlled off-leash, walking city streets..wmv - YouTube
 
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