If He’s Awake, He is in Constant Motion! Hygge at 4 months.

Has it really been roughly 2 months! Oh my how time flies!

Why do I feel like Hygge is much more work than when we have had puppies in the past? Could it be that previous puppies, at least in our home, had adult dogs with whom they played and from whom they learned valuable life lessons? I wonder.

Since Hygge has no other dog with whom he can play, when he is awake he turns to me or my husband to see what the day’s entertainment agenda has in store for him. I am his day planner, as it should be. My husband is his play buddy in the morning and after work.

Here are some things that I have found helpful for entertaining a young puppy:
Scatter feeding
Feeding in a Kong wobbler
Feeding in an IQ treat ball
Flirt pole or jolly ball play in the yard
Socialization outings in the park
Play dates with other vaccinated and temperamentally stable puppies/dogs
Puppy class, which includes play with other puppies
Training, training, training

I try to spend 5-10 minutes a few times a day teaching Hygge to pay attention to me, his name, hand targeting, go to mat, come when called, stay or settle on mat, connected or loose leash walking, and leave it. This helps him both learn new behaviors and use up some energy so he is tired and will settle for a period of time.

The puppy class has been such a wonderful way to tire Hygge on Sunday afternoons. With the exception of the small puppies, he gets to play during each class. After 3-4 classes, he is ready to nap for most of the evening.

We have begun a routine of going to the park for a walk. Sometimes we practice loose leash walking and sometimes I let him walk on a longer lead. In both cases we are on a “sniffari,” allowing him to sniff where he likes. I have noticed that if he hears or sees something he is not sure of, he either stands still or sits, usually the latter. If the sound or sight is novel, I mark and feed as a way to associate yummy food, a positive experience, with the novelty. Hygge now looks to me when he hears or sees something novel, after a short bit of time sometimes, and then he is ready to continue his sniff walks.

Sometimes a novel object found in the house can be exciting for a young puppy. Hygge noticed the door stop and after a few barks he found that it made a funny sound, which led to the zoomies! I must admit he is cute when he tucks his butt and zooms around the room.

There are multiple ways to keep puppies occupied and entertained. Do you have any favorites? If so, please share.

On another note, housetraining continues to be a goal unmet, though we are almost there. While he has slept all night since 4 days after coming home, Hygge does not always let me know he has to go outside to potty. He has gone to the back door a few times and then looked back at me. This continues to be his signal – go to back door and either look at me or come over to me. Fingers crossed that we are close!

In two short months he has grown so much. I am obsessed with paws and paw prints so I often take photos of his paws. His golden eyelashes are too cute to not photograph as well. And at 30 pounds, he is almost too big to pick up. They grow up too fast. While we watch the physical changes, we must also be ready for the behavioral changes. Thankfully enrichment, management, and training are ever present throughout a puppy’s development.