You know you're a good pup parent when you spend considerable time wondering how you can amuse your fur child. After all, she's very curious about her new surroundings. The trick is to keep her happily entertained with parent-approved toys and chewables that busts her boredom.
Buy your pup some treat toys or balls that challenge her brain. Puzzle toys and Kongs require your fur child to move the toy around or look into compartments to find a reward. Simply fill with her favorite treat and she'll have to work extra hard to find the treasure. An added plus: the Kong is a great chew toy even after she strikes it rich. The hard rubber helps soothe teething gums.
Get your puppy a friend or schedule regular puppy play dates once she is fully vaccinated. Since they entertain each other, owning two dogs can often be easier than one. If you can't afford or handle two dogs yourself, look into your neighborhood doggy daycare. They offer your pooch entertainment while you're at work. Don't forget the dog park; it's like Disneyland for dogs.
Turn on the TV or radio for your pup while you're away. Music soothes the savage beast, and some cable outlets offer on-demand doggy programming to keep your dog amused and entertained while you're away. According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman of Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, dogs are able to view digital TV signals a heck of a lot easier than from analog signals, and they can generally recognize other dogs on TV.
Play fetch with a ball or a Frisbee for big-time fun. Becoming involved in activities gives your puppy a mental and physical outlet for excess energy. It's also a great way to bond with your new baby.
Take your pup for a car ride. Take her everywhere with you in the first months of her life, but only after she's been inoculated against canine diseases and viruses. Introduce her to all types of places while she is under 18 weeks of age, which is the critical socialization period for your pooch. After that age, she becomes more wary and anxious around strange new settings.
- If you must leave your puppy at home, provide her with plenty of exercise, including long walks or romps at the park. A tired puppy is a good puppy.
- Puppies who are not stimulated and become destructive may be suffering from separation anxiety.
- Crate your new puppy until you can trust her in the house. Puppies can chew through cords, choke on plush animal stuffing, eat pantyhose and everything under the sun.
Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.