Tag Archives: playtime

Your Puppy’s Development: 6-12 months

Congratulations, your puppy is now reaching adolescence! During these “teenage years” you can expect your pup to be a bit of a handful, but she’ll emerge as a full-grown doggy adult before you know it and you will miss these silly puppy days. She may be a bit awkward physically as well, as she reaches her adult height well before reaching her adult weight. Her appetite is likely to fluctuate along with her changes in height and weight. Both physically and behaviorally, this can be an age of inconsistency, but with the proper guidance and training, your puppy will settle into her adult body and temperament.

Much like human teenagers, adolescent pups use their newfound sense of independence to test their limits, which sometimes means acting out. While there may be occasional lapses in your puppy’s behavior, your reactions should remain consistent, firm and most of all patient. You may see further tests of dominance and ranking in the home around this time. Some misbehavior is normal as your dog explores her dominance in the pack, but it is important to continue to be firm about where she ranks in the hierarchy.

Physical Changes
By now, your puppy should have lost all her baby teeth and grown a full set of adult teeth. Her last teeth to fall out will be her upper canines, or “fangs.” You will need to continue to provide approved chew toys at least until all of her adult teeth have come in, although many dogs enjoy chewing on toys well into their adult years.

A puppy that has not been neutered will reach sexual maturity around this time and begin exhibiting sexual behaviors, such as mounting in male dogs. This is normal behavior, but can be minimized by spaying or neutering your dog before they reach maturity.

During the last stage of puppyhood, a puppy’s energy level skyrockets, and her need for activity goes up along with it. Keep her mind and mouth busy with sturdy toys and plenty of play. This can be a demanding time for puppy parents, especially if they did not establish boundaries with their puppy earlier. Try not to let your puppy get bored or leave her alone for too long, as this could lead to unwanted behaviors like chewing up the furniture or investigating the trash, especially at this age. Though it can be exhausting, this can be a very fun age with your pup and you should be sure to enjoy every minute!

Patience is key during this last stage of your puppy’s development, and so is practice, practice, practice! It may take a while to see results in your puppy’s training, but if you stay persistent, you will have a very well-behaved adult dog before you know it. Soon your furry friend won’t be a puppy anymore—but she will always be your baby.

How to Plan the “Pawfect Birthday Pawty” for Your Pooch

Let’s face it: Hosting a puppy birthday bash is as much for your pup as it is for you and your guests (both pooch and human) to enjoy. While it may seem like a frivolous idea, a pup b-day party is a great reason to get a group of like-minded dog lovers and their furry children together and snap some adorable photos that will last a lifetime. Not only is a pup party a great excuse to get outside and have some fun, but it’s also a wonderful way to socialize your dog with other pooches.

If you don’t know your pet’s exact date of birth, it is always a great idea to use the day your dog arrived home. If that date is too difficult to remember, pick an approximate birthdate, mark it on the calendar and “call it a day.” Your sweet dog won’t know the difference! Now let’s get to the good stuff…here are some tips for hosting a fun, memorable puppy party:

1. Scout the Right Location For Your Needs
Picking the perfect venue comes down to a couple simple questions: How many people and dogs do you plan to invite? Are the dogs potty trained? It’s best to choose a place where your dogs have plenty of room to play freely and interact with one another. While the logical choice seems to be an outdoor space, it’s not impossible to host an indoor party. Consider these pros and cons when making a decision.

  • Outside venues provide pups fresh air and room to run. A pet-friendly backyard is a fantastic option as the dogs will be contained and safe and the only rules to follow are your own. If you don’t have a backyard, other potential outdoor spaces include dog parks or outdoor play areas at doggy daycare facilities or centers. When checking out these venues, make sure you are able to block off a private section for you and your guests. Also, assess what items you’ll have to bring. For example, if there aren’t existing picnic tables, you may want to bring a table and chairs for your human guests. Lastly, be sure to inquire about fees associated with reserving the space.
  • As long as you’re comfortable with lots of dogs and people in your home, a house party can be a great, safe choice for a pup party. You know the setting including which areas are perfect for playing and which areas are completely off-limits. Other indoor possibilities include event spaces at dog hotels or daycare centers, or even a “luxe party spa package” at a doggie day spa. Even if you decide to hold your party predominantly indoors, make sure there is an easily accessible outdoor area for potty breaks. If hosting outside the home, you should also bring plenty of cleaning supplies in the likely event of accidents occurring inside.

2. Remember, It’s Not a Birthday Without Cake
A pooch party is a delicious opportunity to watch your slobbery guests drool over some yummy dessert. This is a fun, tasty part of the event that all your guests – human or dog – will enjoy, not to mention that cake makes for a prime photo opportunity. Don’t want to spend money on a large cake? Opt for mini cupcakes or even go DIY with a dog-friendly recipe, like this one.

3. Don’t Stop at Cake: Provide Plenty of Refreshments and Treats
Make sure to address all of the needed accouterments specific to pups, such as providing plenty of dog bowls filled with fresh water and a “treats station,” with a variety of pup-friendly snacks accounting for potential allergies or food restrictions. For example, you may want to provide chicken treats for the hearty eaters, as well as vegetarian options such as sweet potato or peanut butter for pups that are allergic to chicken. With a multitude of choices, dog owners will stay worry-free and rest assured that their companion will be fed, safe and happy.

4. Decorate To Your Heart’s (and Budget’s) Content
Dog birthday parties are a great excuse to get your creative, crafty juices flowing. Depending on your budget, the scope of décor will vary; however, prioritizing table accessories is a good place to start. A unique and pulled-together table is always an eye-catching centerpiece of the party where guests can gather as well as serve as a nice reminder of what you’re celebrating. A banner of photos capturing your dog’s growth and experiences over the years is a cute idea. Or, consider a basket of favorite dog toys that guests can later take home as favors. Another décor tip: Inexpensive balloons can be easily turned into doggy faces by drawing features, and attaching some floppy ears. Don’t have construction paper for the ears? Not to worry! Brown paper bags should do the trick!

  • Place settings and/or favors for your four legged guests should be special. Leaving a toy at each dog’s setting is a nice idea. Don’t want to spend money on toys? Not to worry! Instead, repurpose those water bottles you are using to fill the water bowls. Buy some fabric or fun colored socks from your local dollar store or drug store. Stuff that empty water bottle in the sock and tie it up tight. The end result is sure to be a real crowd pleaser!
  • “Doggy Bags” are also a great party favor to leave on the table as well. Stuff a paper bag with a couple treats, tennis ball, and some plastic potty bags. Fold the top, draw a face on the front, write the furry guest’s name below the face and attach some ears.
  •  Is your party not looking as festive or colorful as you had imagined? Grab some bright colored chalk and show your guests the way by drawing some large paw prints on surrounding sidewalks and streets or your front door and driveway.

Most importantly, always remember that the best birthday gift you can give to your dog is love and attention! Your companion will be thrilled no matter how pretty the table or cake looks and will love you that much more for dedicating an entire day to him!

Happy celebrating!

A Stress-Free Guide to Pup Playdates

As a pup-parent, you’ve likely met other dog owners and have bonded over a shared love of your four-legged friends. Eventually, the idea for a playdate between your two dogs is likely to come up. The idea seems like a fun one at first, until you remember a few instances of your pup’s bad behavior. Even if your dog is generally well-mannered, you never know how he might act around a stranger, whether human or fur ball. Pup playdates are a good chance to socialize your dog to new experiences and individuals, but there is a right and wrong way to go about them. Avoid a meeting mishap between your dog and his pup-pal by reading this to-do list and ensuring your playdate is a success!

1. Pick a Playmate
Not every dog will be the right friend for your dog. Factors like age, size, sex and energy level should be taken into account to give this playdate the best chance at success. For example, it’s best to pair up dogs of opposite sexes, as dogs of the same sex may see each other as threatening and are more likely to get into fights. This is not to say that two female dogs or two male dogs can never get along, but it is not as encouraged as having a male and female dog play together for the first time. A playmate close in age to your pup is also ideal, as the energy levels of the pups will be more likely to match up, whereas a young, lively puppy might get on the nerves of an older, more tranquil dog. Likewise, it’s best not to have dogs of differing sizes playing together, as one may end up overpowering the other or injuring the other without intention. Finally, make sure your pup is up to date with his vaccinations, and aim to surround him with other vaccinated pups to reduce the chance of spreading illness.

2. Choose a Neutral, Secure Environment
Where the playdate takes place matters just as much as who your pup is spending it with. Like your pup’s playmate, the setting must also be a good match; not too cramped, but also not too spacious. Avoid having the first encounter at your or the other owner’s house, as the dog living there may feel like his territory is being infringed upon when an unfamiliar dog enters it.

3. Take it Slow
For your dog’s first introduction to his new playmate, you will want to maintain a cool, calm demeanor. Since our dogs can pick up on human feelings of stress, going into the meeting with bad feelings can set your dog up for a failed experience. Keep a lax grip on your dog’s leash and encourage him with a praising tone of voice. Most importantly, don’t force the interaction. Despite trying your best to pair your pup with what appears to be the right playmate for him, it still might not be a perfect match. Take it slow by allowing your dog sniff out his playmate and encourage the other owner to do the same. Pay attention to body language to see how both dogs feel about the experience. Tongue-out smiles and wagging tails are signs of a good time, while a stiff body, exposed teeth and growling might be signs to separate the two pooches. But if both pups look relaxed and eager to play with each other, then allow them to play off-leash under your supervision.

4. Break Time
Even if all is going well, your pup and his playmate are bound to get tired sooner or later, so interrupt the play about every five minutes to split up the dogs, allowing them both some time to take a breather. After refueling them with water and treats, you can send them on their way again while keeping a watchful eye.

5. In the Case of a Fight
You’ll know if the encounter turns into a fight if you hear a lot of angry noise or see the dogs tangled up or displaying signs of aggression. Although most dog fights are minor, a risky situation that involves two irritated dogs should be halted immediately to avoid injury or worse. To safely end the fight and avoid getting hurt yourself, spray the dogs with water from a hose or spray bottle to distract them away from the tussle. Alternatively, you can make a loud noise to startle the dogs into silence. Always keep your hands away from either dog’s face. Once the dogs are separated, document any injuries and keep both pups secured on leashes, where they can no longer interact. If you wish, you can give the playdate one last shot on another occasion, but depending on the severity of the fight, you may have to accept the fact that not all of “man’s best friends” are meant to be “best friends.”

Dog playdates can be a fun socialization activity as well as provide a healthy means of exercise. As long as the encounter is kept safe, a pup playdate should be a positive experience for all involved.

7 Pups Who Want to Show You Their Toys

Every pup parent knows a busy pup is not only a happy pup, but also less destructive. Not to mention, puppies happen to look “doggone” adorable with a toy in tow. So, we put together a compilation of pups playing with their favorite stuffy and chew toys for your viewing pleasure.


This pup’s lamby may be almost as big as she is, but that’s not stopping her from taking a bite out of her furry friend.




wooden-toy-thumbnailThis puppy is into the simpler things in life, like a wooden toy train.





whale-thumbnailThis white ball of floof is ready for you to reach for her whale, but at the last second she’ll scoop it up and run away.




loot-thumbnailOkay, this is more of a treat than a toy, but this puppy is still proud to show off his loot.





foxy-thumbnailThis pup is feeling foxy and isn’t afraid to show it.





mickey-thumbnailThis pup just got back from Disneyland and won’t put down his new friend Mickey.





toys-thumbnailThis little guy has all the toys and refuses to share any of them with you.