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Hi everyone! Jaanu has been doing well. He is 12 wks old now. One issue I'm running into is how to best keep him entertained. Sometimes he can get bored quick with some of the toys (like he has already figured on the bob-a-lot and he isn't really into kongs) I have tug toys, plush toys, chew toys, Kongs, A bob-a-lot, a flirt pole, and a tunnel. I also have been training come, drop, sit, and settle as well as some touch and handling exercises. There are a few parts to this question:

1) What games can I play with the existing toys/what games can I play with Jaanu (besides fetch since he doesn't always have the patience for it)?
2) What are some good interactive toys to keep him entertained and how can I rig the ones I have to make them more interesting?
3) What should I train next?

Thanks so much!
 

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Freezing a stuffed Kong will make it much more challenging. It also feels lovely on sore gums during teething.

One thing I also did with Peggy was put her in an exercise pen to entertain herself while I puttered around nearby. If I'd tried to keep her constantly engaged, I'm not sure I'd have survived puppyhood. Lol. We'd give her things to shred (frozen carrots are good during teething) and got her hooked on yak cheese chews, which are still her evening babysitter.

When it was time to play together, "Find It" (i.e. hide and seek with a toy) was a fast favourite.
 

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We would fill a box with toys, cardboard and other puppy safe stuff and mix kibble throughout. We would tell Bobby to “Find It” and he would dig and sniff and find the rewards! It’s a messy game but so much fun. Along the same lines, we would take a box such as a cereal box or the like and fill it like the bigger box and close up the box. It amps up the challenge. Bobby still enjoy this. If your pup is a shredder and spits out the pieces this really keeps them occupied. Also, there are snuffle matts where they search for the treats/food. They’re are a bit expensive but there are directions online to make your own. Find It games really are fun and a great way to train. We would and still do this, have him sit and then release to go sniff and find. The nose works hard! 😉We just make him wait way longer and do more complex tasks because he’s older. While it is an investment of sorts, puzzle games of all kinds are great! Bobby has quite a collection as he has loved them ever since he was a young pup. There are easy ones and more complicated ones. Bobby has never tired of them so they were worth every penny. We just rotate them.
Starmark everlasting treat toys are awesome. The Bento ball is the best!!
Chewing is of course a great way to occupy pups. We had a hard time finding things Bobby would chew. He likes to chew but he’s not a power chewer. Funny boy, he was and still is, very picky about his chews. Bully sticks are what he likes best and they great for all ages from what I understand because they soften up as they chew.
Have fun! Puppies are fun and puppies are busy, busy, busy aren’t they!? 😆
 

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Thanks so much, I'll definitely look into getting a snuffle mat. I think that he would like that a lot. And find it sounds great, I'll have to figure out how to teach that to him since I think he'll have a blast. I am really surprised by how quickly he gets bored of a frozen kong haha. I think the yak cheese would be awesome. What brand do you use @PeggyTheParti ? I have tried to find a good brand, but most have reviews complaining about crumbly or moldy product.
 

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I always order from Chewy, because I love their customer service. If there was an issue, I know they'd fix it right away.

I've never had a problem, but definitely sniff the package when you open it. It should smell a little smoky, with no hint of mold. And be sure to store the unused chews in the open package, rather than sealing it back up and potentially trapping moisture.

I think these come in various sizes—you might have to search—but these are the two brands I regularly re-order in bulk when the price is good.

Leaves behind bits like Parmesan cheese as they chew:

Leaves behind slightly larger bits, which are annoying to step on, but Peggy gets more excited about this brand:

Careful with both, as a chunk can occasionally break off if dropped from the right angle. Peggy will drop hers over and over (and over!) again, trying to recreate this effect, because....

Once we've got a piece that's too small to easily gnaw, but too big to safely swallow, we pop it in the microwaves, watch carefully as it puffs (30-90 seconds, depending on size and brand), and then stick it in the freezer for five minutes to cool. That creates a puffy, crunchy cheese snack, which Peggy thinks is fantastic. She'll sit by the microwave and then the freezer until it's ready.
 

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I was wondering the same thing about the yak cheese chews. Thanks for the recommendation PeggyTheParti. We tried the yak chews once and Bobby did like it but I felt it was kind of of crumbly and I was concerned about safety as the pieces were big and I was concerned a big chunk would break off. The whole chew looked like there were cracks all over it. I think I may try it again with your recommendation.
 

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Thanks so much, I'll definitely look into getting a snuffle mat. I think that he would like that a lot. And find it sounds great, I'll have to figure out how to teach that to him since I think he'll have a blast. I am really surprised by how quickly he gets bored of a frozen kong haha. I think the yak cheese would be awesome. What brand do you use @PeggyTheParti ? I have tried to find a good brand, but most have reviews complaining about crumbly or moldy product.
I think he will like the snuffle mat too.
Kong makes several treat dispensing toys that are well loved in this house. Definitely worth the money. There’s one shaped like a rubber Kong that Bobby has used ever since he was a pup. He still uses it.
 

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Any chew is a choking hazard, so use with care. But there definitely shouldn't be cracks all over it. Here's one that Peggy's currently working on:

468609

"Hey, what're you doing with that?"

It's one of the "Bones & Chews" from the Chewy link above, and she's been enjoying it on and off for a few days now.

Your mileage may vary. :) She's only a super chewer when the mood strikes.
 

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When I run out of dog training ideas I borrow horse training ideas. It's amazing how many concepts transfer between species, LOL. The ones for training trail horses tend to be especially useful. They fall into two basic categories:
Getting used to scary objects
Improving coordination and footwork

Horses are hyper-aware of their environment and treat any change with deepest suspicion. A new rock showing up at the edge of a familiar trail can trigger five minutes of balking, snorting, and intense scrutiny. (Horse logic: "Rocks don't walk around by themselves. How did this one get here? Is it really a rock? Is it dangerous? If it is a rock, what put it here? Is the thing that put the rock here dangerous? Is it still here?") So, a lot of trail horse training involves exposing the horse to all kinds of random stuff that might show up next to a path one day. Baby strollers, swinging real estate signs, people opening umbrellas, flapping shopping bags, people wearing funny hats, little kids with helium balloons, bicycles, skateboards, inflatable snowmen... The list is infinite.

What's funny is that I've had dogs spook at the same kinds of items that have scared my horses. A couple days ago my boy Galen got very jittery at a newly opened trench for a neighbor's lawn sprinkler. We had to carefully inspect all the pipes, dirt piles, and sprinkler heads before he would relax. (Then today he proudly showed it to Pogo, who was completely unimpressed.) Galen also got very skittish when he saw two ladies carrying beach chairs, when he saw his first baby stroller, and when he saw a full sized clothing display mannequin. I'm now trying to make up for lost covid time by showing him as much stuff as I can and taking him to as many places as I can.

Footwork and being used to walking in a variety of surfaces is also very important to a trail horse. Tripping on fallen tree limbs or wiping out on concrete will really ruin a nice afternoon out. Therefore, horse trainers make trail horses practice walking over all sorts of obstacles: poles laid in various patterns, mud puddles, tarps, tires, and even mattresses.

Galen, as he matures, has been learning and practicing similar skills. Stairs were a huge deal for him. His first exposure to a hardwood floor shocked him. (No traction.) This week he got his first romp in wet, unmowed crabgrass and promptly did a face plant. He still hasn't got full confidence jumping in and out of my car; we will be practicing more.
 

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I have found poodles (or at least my poodle) to be extremely horselike! Just introducing her to things, showing her how they work, etc. could be a full-time job. Sometimes she spooks, other times she gets her nose right in there and then looks up at me like, "Okay, tell me about this now, please."

Just letting a puppy follow you around while you do something as simple as laundry (assuming you narrate, of course) is oodles of poodle fun.
 
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