All Things Dog

Fun and exercise for your puppy

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Ten days after your puppy is vaccinated, you can start taking him outside for exercise. Here's a handy guide to collars and leashes, walks, and great dog toys.

In their first few months, puppies will get all the exercise they need from their naturally energetic play in the home, so you don't need to give them any extra exercise.

Please keep in mind that you should never allow puppies out of the home-unless they're carried--until they've had all their vaccinations. This is because they need to be isolated from infections they can pick up from other dogs. On the other hand, you can allow them to meet other dogs and puppies who are healthy and have been fully vaccinated. Wait for at least 10 days from the final vaccinations before you take your puppy outside.

Collars and leashes
To minimize any feeling of discomfort for your puppy, you can buy him a special lightweight puppy leash and collar set. Introduce the collar to him gradually, first for just several minutes, and then building up over a few weeks. You can actually start getting him used to the collar once he's settled into your home.

Make sure you regularly test the fit, since your puppy will be growing rapidly. You should be able to get two fingers easily beneath the collar. Of course, you'll need to buy stronger collars and longer leashes when your puppy grows up.

Take your dog outside only when he's wearing his collar and he's attached to the leash. It's also a good idea, and a legal requirement in some countries, for him to wear an identity tag with a contact phone number, just in case he gets lost.

Some breeds, such as Pekinese, are also better suited to wearing a harness. The amount of exercise dogs need as they grow depends on the breed as well as the age. Some breeds love active walks, while certain small breeds get tired very quickly.

Playing with your dog
Playing with your dog is a fun part of your relationship with him. In fact, play helps build the relationship. But be careful. Never let play become too rough, since you could be giving permission for your dog to behave in a way that people he encounters later on may not appreciate.

In order to maintain discipline, you must be the leader of the "pack," deciding when games start and finish.

Don't play with sticks; your puppy could get a splinter or damage his mouth. Don't play with stones, either, because dogs, particularly young dogs, could break a tooth.

Dogs love toys
Most dogs love dog toys and find them really fun. You'll be happy to see that they can hold your dog's attention for hours. Playing usually requires two participants, but with some toys, your dog can play on his own.

Your dog should play with toys made from firm, elastic materials that aren't dangerous to him. Never leave a dog unattended with toys, though.

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