IT'S NATIONAL PUPPY DAY!!

Many of us are cooped up at home right now, and it can be a bit of a challenge to keep your dog happy and entertained - particularly if you have a rambunctious puppy!  No matter how old your dog, we’re including some new games and tips… along with some adorable puppy pictures that will absolutely melt your heart!

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Help your dog learn names!

Puppies are still new to the world and learning how you communicate, and sometimes grown up dogs need help with that too.  If you are at home with family, helping your pup learn all your names is both fun for them, and practical for later training! 

Have your family sit in a circle around your pup, and once he's settled, say the name of one of people there, and then have that person call to the puppy and give him a treat when he comes over.  After a few rounds, try just saying one of your family member's names without that person calling them over - it might take a few tries, but eventually he'll eagerly approach them for a treat without being called!

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Make your pup a homemade frozen treat!

Cold treats can be a great snack, even though it’s not summer!  Instead of gobbling up a treat in a few bites, your dog will need to lick and chew the treat for a long time to warm it up enough to eat, keeping them happy and occupied for a long time.  And if your dog is just a young pup, the cold is also excellent for soothing any teething pain they may be going through.

Peanut butter works great for this purpose (as long as it contains no artificial sweeteners like xylitol), and so does pureed pumpkin, sweet potato, low-sodium broth, or even regular wet dog food.  If you have a food toy like a Kong, you can stuff the food inside that and put it in the freezer for an awesome long-lasting chewy snack, but otherwise, even an ice cube tray or small bowl should do the trick!  You can even soak a rope toy - a must have for any puppy - in some low-sodium broth and freeze that for a fun, tasty combination of toy and treat!

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Work on bite training!

Dogs love to chew, and of course, this is totally normal and healthy behavior.  Training them to be gentle and careful with their teeth is important - many dogs get a little too enthusiastic about chewing which could actually injure their jaws or teeth!  

Teaching your dog to chew safely is as simple as giving them one of their favorite hard chew toys and supervising as they enjoy it.  Watch for two things.  First, your pup should only chew on toys with their front teeth, not their molars.  Second, watch out for ripping motions, where your pup holds the toy under a paw and yanks at it with their head.  If you see your pup chomping with their back teeth or trying to rip at their toy, take it away from them for at least thirty seconds, then just give it back.  If your dog keeps up the bad habit, take the toy away for even longer before returning it.  It might take several tries, but eventually your dog will learn to connect those bad chewing habits with the loss of their toy!

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Help out a pup in need!

It doesn't matter how old your dog is... they'll always be a puppy to you!  But if you want to make today special for puppies and your dog is all grown up, it would be a great day to donate some of your dog's old puppy supplies to the local shelter.  Chances are you have some toys that your dog doesn't play with anymore, a harness or crate they might have outgrown, or a food or treats they no longer enjoy - reach out to a rescue organization near you and see if they have a use for it!  With everything that's going on these days, shelters are seeing huge numbers of surrendered pets, so I'm sure they'll be grateful for the help.

 

Credit:Dogpawty.com (original content not found online) Photos: unsplash

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