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How to Play with Your Labrador Puppy

by Allison Marie
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If you want to play with your Labrador puppy, it should not be that hard, right?

After all, it would no longer be considered play if it involves doing something strenuous that takes away everything fun out of the activity.

We have rounded up a few suggestions on how to play with a puppy safely and happily below.

But, before we get started, here is a quick look at what you need to know when it comes to playing with Labrador puppies.

Your Labrador Retriever’s temperament

Labrador Retrievers are usually very kind, friendly, and even-tempered, even when they are puppies.

It is actually for this reason that Labs make great family dogs. The fact that they love to play with people—whether they are kids, adults, or seniors—contributes to making them one of the most popular dog breeds.

Take note, however, that every dog also has its limits. Just like humans, if you push your Lab too hard and annoy them during playtime or while they exercise, they may grow to dislike it and may even snarl, bark, or nip.

Additionally, Labradors need obedience training while they are young. Their temperament may change as they age if they do not learn how to obey you.

Generally, however, it is fairly easy to play with your Labrador puppy. They love to be around people and enjoy most games that you teach them.

If a child tries to play with a Lab puppy, they often play more carefully, but again, that depends on your particular pup.

What toys can you use to play with Lab puppies?

Here is a quick list of the basic toys that your Labrador Retriever puppy will love:

Balls

The brown labrador retriever playing on white studio background

Whether soft or hard, having balls as toys for your Lab puppies is great. Ideally, however, puppies should have softer balls, while older dogs may prefer tougher ones.

Just make sure that the ball is always too big for them to swallow to avoid choking hazards. At the same time, however, the ball must be small enough to fit in their mouths.

Squeaky toys

Some Labs get excited whenever they hear a squeaky toy.

But, you may still want to test your Labrador Retriever’s tolerance for squeaky noises before buying them a ton of squeaky toys since some dogs get scared or mad when they hear the squeak.

Puzzle toys

For Labradors that are known for being very smart dogs, mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise.

You can also get them activity toys, boxes, and balls to present them with a challenge. These puzzle toys usually have spaces where you can put food inside.

Chew toys

Chew toys are always great toys, especially when your Lab puppy is teething. For these types of toys, you can try chew toys and rawhide bones, among others.

Just make it a point that they are not too big or small for your puppy’s mouth.

Tug toys

Dogs love tug toys because the goal is to win. However, you also need to be careful with these kinds of toys, especially if your puppy shows aggression.

How long should Labrador puppy play sessions be?

Typically, if your puppy looks energetic and wants to play, they can play as often as they can.

They should take breaks, though, whenever they show signs of exhaustion, like lying down, panting, and aggression.

However, a lot of people agree that puppies should play for 5 minutes for each month of their age twice in a day.

For example, a four-month-old puppy can play for 20 minutes two times a day, while a 5-month old puppy can play for 25 minutes two times a day.

Be gentle, however. While Labrador Retrievers are big dogs, it does not mean that they can handle rough play all the time.

This is especially true when your Lab is still young. They could get hurt or feel scared of you if you play with them too roughly.

Fun games to play with your Labrador puppy

So, if you’re looking for ways on how to entertain a Labrador puppy, we have some suggestions below:

1. Fetch

A simple game of fetch is a great way of bonding with your Lab puppy. Plus, it helps them exercise their mind and body.

When your Labs are still very young puppies, stick to the basics—throw the toy and encourage them to bring it back to you.

Once your Labrador Retriever gets good at playing fetch, you can make the game more interesting.

For instance, you can get specific toys and name them. Of course, you need to say the names to your dog as well and point at your dog so they can identify the toy.

Start slow by throwing two toys in front of your dog and saying the name of one toy that your dog knows.

Your dog should get the right toy. To encourage them to make the right choice, give them treats every time they get the right toy.

2. The name game

Once your Labrador gets good at playing fetch, you can make the game more interesting.

For instance, you can get specific toys and name them. Of course, you need to say the names to your dog and point at the dog so they can identify the toy.

Start slowly by throwing two toys in front of your dog and saying the name of one toy that your dog knows.

Your dog should get the right toy. To encourage them to make the right choice, give them treats every time they get the right toy.

3. Hidden treasure

Another great brain game for Lab puppies is to find yummy treats. Show your Labrador a treat and let them smell it, but do not let them eat it.

Make your dog leave the room and hide the treat. Let them enter the room to find the treat.

Make sure it is not too hard to hide at first to make sure they understand the game. You can increase the difficulty the more you play the game.

4. Chase

If you have more than one Lab puppy, then you can encourage them to chase each other.

However, you may not need to since puppies love to naturally chase each other to play.

Do not be alarmed if it looks like one of your Lab pup is getting bullied. The winner of the chase will push, chew the other’s ears, or stand over them when they win, but it usually does not really hurt.

5. Bubbles

A fun way to play with your Lab puppy is to blow bubbles! You can get non-toxic bubbles and blow them into the air.

Some pet shops will sell flavored play bubbles so your dog will love the game even more.

Most Labradors will instinctively try to grab and bite the bubbles, which can be lots of fun for them. Plus, it is definitely cute to watch!

However, you need to have a mop or a rag to use after playtime. The bubbles can make your floor very slippery because some bubbles will fall on the floor and leave a soapy, slippery residue.

6. Tug of war

With tug of war, you can get a few chew toys and rope toys to play a classic game of tug of war. Your Lab will simply bite on one end as you pull the other.

Make sure you take regular breaks, though. Do not be too rough and let your Lab win sometimes. Harsh games of tug of war can harm your pup’s teeth and potentially make them aggressive.

7. Frisbee

Does your pup love to jump in the air? Encourage them to run and jump high by playing frisbee!

All you have to do is throw the frisbee, and they will run and catch it.

8. Play with sprinklers

Most Labs love water, so this is a great game to help them enjoy playtime and get used to water.

All you have to do is turn the sprinklers on, and you can run and play with your Lab through the water!

9. Hide and seek

If you want to play a fun game, make your Lab sit and stay.

Make sure they stay as you find a place to hide. Once you are hidden, call out their name one or two times until they find you.

10. Piggy in the Middle

If you co-own a dog or have multiple people in the house, this game is a fun way for many people to play with your pup. 

Find a way to surround the puppy without making them feel closed in. Grab a ball and throw the ball to the other person. Your dog will probably not get the ball, which is fine, but they will definitely try their best!

In short…

It is easy to play with a Lab puppy and keep them entertained.

You can buy them the appropriate toys, be gentle with them, and play fun games with them to keep them happy and healthy.

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