Teresa and the Fuzzy Slippers

Dog behavior consultant Teresa Lewin stumbles out of bed at dawn, shoves her feet into her fuzzy slippers, dons her warm housecoat and makes her way downstairs. Before she can grab her desperately needed coffee, there is something even more desperate that needs her attention. It’s a litter of four five-week-old German Shepherd puppies, all clamoring to get out of their pen. Once released they race for the door and Teresa goes outside with them. Finished their morning business, their attention turns to the fuzzy slippers and the warm housecoat trailing tantalizingly close to the ground. They are fierce and relentless in their assault on the slippers and housecoat and heedless of Teresa’s delicate human skin under it all. The more Teresa moves to evade and dissuade, the more interested they become. It’s all she can do to get back into the house and wrangle them back into the pen. She needs a new strategy for these morning encounters with the savages in their latest stage of development. She needs something even more enticing than the fuzzy slippers to interest the puppies. The toy on a rope solution is born!

Two Essentials for Puppy Outings

When we have a puppy around there are two things we always have with us when we go out: treats and our toy on a rope.

Around the house there are two things we always have handy: treats and our toy on a rope.

You can see our poor guy in the photo above. He’s been through many puppies and he’s probably got a few more left in him. He’s saved us from many puppy nips and he’s taught many puppies that it’s fun to chase and bite him and not us.

Why is he not torn to pieces, you might ask? Well it’s because once the puppy catches it, she only gets a brief chance to tug and bite it before we trade for a treat and start again. She never is left just to play and destroy it by herself. For larger rougher puppies we would have a larger and more rugged toy.

How to Get the Toy Back

You should let the puppy catch the toy every so often so that she’s having fun and not getting frustrated. After a brief tug session, take the toy back.

There are two ways to get the toy back. The first is simply to stop tugging, be still until the puppy just lets go and then start the chasing game again. The second is to trade for a treat. It’s best to start with the trade so that the puppy gets the idea that the game will continue even if she gives up the toy.

It’s Essential on Walks

Take the toy on a rope when you walk the puppy on a leash. You can dangle it and let the puppy play with it while you’re walking. This helps her learn to walk without tension on the leash and prevents the always popular with puppies game of tug of war with the leash.

Use it to distract the puppy if she sees other things that she wants to go after.

Kids Can Play Too

Kids can play this game too and it teaches the puppy how to run with them without chasing and biting them. With younger children, it’s the parent’s job to get the toy back so that the game can start again.

Video Example

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