A Guide to Puppy Playtime Habits

Have you noticed your puppy play-bows at you? Don’t be too concerned if your puppy does—think of it as their way of inviting you to play with them! Puppies have their special signals that let you know they want to spend time with you, such as play-bowing, tail-wagging, and barking.

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You should take your puppy’s invitation for a playtime session whenever you have the chance. Play is the best way you can bond with your furbaby and socialize them. Depending on your puppy’s breed, age, and social skills, their playtime habits may vary. For example, sporting dog breeds tend to prefer running and chasing, while hound breeds love games that let them use their powerful nose.

Puppy behavior during play may also include quick and exaggerated movements. Oftentimes, it looks as though puppies are fighting with each other than playing. Some puppies tend to be rough, and this behavior should be stopped before the other pup gets hurt.

Here are 5 ways that puppies play with other pups and you.

1. Social play. Sometimes puppies need to test out their social skills. What’s the best way to do that? Well, here’s where social play comes into the picture. With social play, your puppy will interact with other puppies and/or humans in various ways. Some common social play behaviors include play-biting, chasing, and wrestling. By age 3 or 4 weeks, your furbaby may initiate social play with their fellow peers by pouncing or play-bowing.

2. Object play. Playing chase with your puppy’s favorite toy will add some excitement to playtime. You will also get bonus points if you engage your puppy with a toy that looks like an animal. This will help your furry friends instincts kick in, and encourage them to chase the toy everywhere. Some puppies also love playing with water; you may notice your pup trying to “bite” water from a hose.

3. Motion play. Do you ever notice how much energy a puppy seems to have? Sometimes they just burst into a sprint or run without explanation! This type of play is called motion play. It can involve other puppies or the puppy by itself. You may notice strange behavior from your furry friend, such as pouncing, jumping, and rolling around without a play partner. We promise your furry buddy is having the best kind of fun!

4. Self-play. Whether your puppy chases their tail or plays with their paws, self-play is a cute and fun way puppies entertain themselves. Your pup may also jump on imaginary objects or bite at the air as a form of self-play. If your furbaby chases their tail or bite at imaginary bugs constantly, they may be suffering from a medical condition. 

5. Bad play. Roughhousing or bullying are both forms of bad play that puppies may get into. Bad play is different from the other forms of play on this list since it can hurt or injury the puppies involved. You may hear yelping or cry from your puppy during bad play. Once you hear your pup’s cries or see biting at the head or ears, break up the session immediately. Check your puppies for any injuries and let them cool off. Let them play again once they’ve calmed down.

Playtime is always fun when puppies are involved. It’s a great way to build your bond with them and can provide valuable life lessons. With enough playtime, your puppy will grow into a well-adjusted, well-socialized dog. We hope this list helps you tell what type of play your puppy is engaging in!

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