We know that it’s important not to over exercise a puppy, but with the current restrictions making things even more difficult, how do you keep them mentally stimulated? We’ve put together some useful suggestions to help you keep your new addition out of trouble!
Remember the 5-minute rule
When you first get them, it can be tempting to get outside with them as much as you can and enjoy long walks together. The time for that will come, however when they are still small, and their bodies are growing and developing; exercise should be limited. It is recommended that they receive no more than 5 minutes of exercise for every month of their age. You can read more about this in our “Welcome a puppy during lockdown” blog.
Quality not quantity
We know that they need a physical workout, but we must not forget about a mental workout too. This will be a great way to support them in developing their problem-solving skills, whilst also helping to reduce the likelihood of destructive behaviour.
Simple obedience training can be a great way of mentally challenging your new addition. Try teaching them basic commands such as “sit” or “down”. It’s important to make it fun and interesting to prevent them getting distracted and to give lots of praise when they get the command right! Remember that training will take time, and if they are struggling too much, take a break and come back to it later.
Hide and Seek
Yes, you heard us correct; hide and seek isn’t just for humans! Get someone to hold the pup, whilst you go and hide (with a few bits of our puppy food) somewhere in the house. If they aren’t allowed around the house, then this can also be played in the garden. Once you have hidden, call them and get them to find you. Don’t make it too difficult to begin with, it can always be made more difficult as they get older. This is a brilliant way to get your puppy thinking, whilst being a fun and exciting way to practice recall.
Getting them to use their nose is an excellent way to work their brain. Try hiding their favourite dogs or little bits of their Skinner’s kibble around the house or garden and get them to find them. This can keep them entertained for a long time, helping to keep them out of trouble!
Remember if you are using their food, to take it out of their daily food allowance, to prevent unwanted weight gain. If you’re unsure how much they should be fed, have a read of our Puppy Feeding Guide.
A calm puppy
Whilst it’s great to keep your puppy busy, it’s also very important to give them time to rest. Every dog is different, and can depend on their breed and age, but most need between 16 – 20 hours a day! Remember to leave them alone whilst they are sleeping, as it is crucial to their growth and development. With so many new sights, smells and sounds, they need this time to process these new experiences.
Most importantly, enjoy this time together! With the current Covid restrictions, many of us are at home more than we ever have been before. Use your time to build bonds which will last a lifetime!