How Not to Play with a Puppy

It may be cute when a little puppy play-bites your hand, sleeve, or pant leg, or chews on your shoelaces, but before you know it, the dog grows up and, meaning no harm, sinks its teeth into someoneís hand, or rips a sofa pillow.

Here are six good rules of puppy play to keep your dog safe and to make sure you donít encourage behavior that will spell trouble later on.

Donít play just before or after feeding.

Donít play on a slippery surface, such as wood, vinyl, or tile. The puppy needs secure footing, or it can tear a muscle or dislocate a joint.

Donít do anything to provoke aggression, even in play.

Donít play tug-of-war with a puppy. It can cause damage to the puppyís jaw.

Donít encourage or permit a puppy to bite anything but its own toys.

Donít play with a puppy for more than a few minutes at a time, because it will become over stimulated and exhausted–or aggressive. Extended romping is especially harmful to a large-breed pup, whose bones are not
yet strong enough to support its weight in hard play.

Adapted from City Dog, by Patricia Curtis (Lantern Books, 2002). Copyright (c) 2002 by Patricia Curtis. Reprinted by permission of Lantern Books.
Adapted from City Dog, by Patricia Curtis (Lantern Books, 2002).

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Kate S.
Kate S.2 years ago

thanks again

Isabel Araujo
Isabel Araujo2 years ago

Thank you for the good information.

Malgorzata Zmuda
Malgorzata Zmuda2 years ago

ciekawe informacje dla posiadających szczeniaka

Terry V.
Terry V.2 years ago


katarzyna phillips

i'm surprised at how many people don't know how much exercise is enough for their pup, especially if it is a big breed. i'm always shocked to see people taking their little 'uns to be big 'uns for long walks. yes the dog may be enjoying it, but you could both be regretting it later

Edvanir L.
Edvanir L.2 years ago

I really appreciate all those information. I'm sharing with friends. Thank you!!

Chris C.
Chris C.2 years ago

Great article with really good information. All play with baby animals should be supervised by adults. And, by adults, I mean adult people with some common sense!

Maggie Kearns
Maggie Kearns2 years ago


Aud Nordby
Aud nordby2 years ago


Marie Hernandes
Past Member 2 years ago

Oh, Annie gave us a lot of don't but neglected to give us some how to's. For example, one of my little dogs likes to give me 'love bites' when I'm playing with him and I find it cute because it doesn't hurt. I'm no expert in this but if a dog playfully bites hard enough to hurt than I would immediately say STOP! Don't do that. But some people might react by striking the dog...which I would not ever suggest for anyone to do. I would simply say, don't do anything to your pet when you discipline it that you wouldn't want done to you.