A soft mouth refers to the strength that the puppy is using when he closes his jaw on you, on another dog, or on your cat. Regardless of who it is, we need the puppy to learn to inhibit his bite (see Dogs Learning From Other Dogs in How Dogs Learn). Dogs need to learn to develop a soft mouth.
Some folks feel adamant about never letting a dog put their mouth on a human and they do have a point. A dog may not discriminate between the strong hands of a man that they roughhouse with and that of a child or baby. That being said, we encourage you to let your puppy mouth your hands. This way you know how hard he is biting down and you can give him the appropriate feedback. Many people like to wrestle and roughhouse with their dogs. This is a personal decision that you have to make, taking into consideration your family and any children who will encounter your dog. (For more on this topic please see Prevention).
When Should You Play Games?
Every day! Make them a part of your daily life with your dog. From the time you bring the puppy into your home, you should be teaching and refining and playing games.
They have short attention spans; make sure training never feels like a chore for you or them. Games mixed in with ‘teaching’ life skills helps you achieve this!
- Always have toys available – lightweight tugs are great.
- Puppies have short attention spans; make sure training never feels like a chore for either of you. Games sprinkled in with your ‘training’ helps you keep it fun!
- When the weather is too hot, cold, or wet – a dog with a vast repertoire of games under his belt is easy to tucker out inside the house.
- Games are as educational as anything that you opt to teach. For a tired or stressed-out person, a game with your puppy might be just the thing you both need.
Pick up your toys – or teach your dog to!
Keep the game toys put away. This will help maintain their novelty and increase the odds your pup will be interested in playing with both you and them. Leave out a few select chews to ensure your pup always has access to something appropriate to chew on. Leave out a few toys that you rotate through which will help to maintain interest.
The great thing about games is that you can play them almost anywhere. People love to watch other people playing with their dogs. As with everything we teach our puppies, we need to start in an environment where we have our puppy’s full attention. Just as you will progress with your life skills in many different situations, you should progress by playing games in different situations as well. Playing a game of hide and go seek at the vet can help to relieve any stress the pup might have. Breaking up a morning walk with a game of retrieve can really spice up the morning. Only your imagination limits where you will play the games.