Just like any "child" in the family, a puppy needs safe toys of his own to play with. One of the first rules for your puppy to learn is to keep his toys and your family's belongings separate. Don't allow your puppy to have access to family shoes, for example, or your children's toys, since old habits are hard to shake off.
When purchasing toys for your puppy, follow these simple guidelines:
- Make sure toys are large and sturdy enough that they can't be swallowed. Discard any broken toys.
- Provide a variety of toys and put them away between play sessions.
- Alternate toys during playtime so your puppy won't get bored with the same selection every day.
- Puppies chew to investigate new objects and to help lose their baby teeth. Pet-safe chew toys are a must so your furniture, shoes and remote controls won't be destroyed.
- Playing fetch with a tennis ball is great exercise for your puppy – and great fun for you.
- Avoid tug of war or games that encourage dogs to wrestle with or chase children and adults. These games can teach aggressive behavior.
In addition to providing toys, make sure to give your puppy plenty of opportunity to play with other dogs, especially those close in age, to promote positive social behavior.