Friday, December 28, 2012

Essentials & Games at 8-10 weeks Old

Here is a list of the toys and other items that I have found to be essential so far in dealing with and raising this mini aussie puppy.  Before I got the puppy I was overwhelmed standing in the Petco toy aisle.  The choices were endless and I didn't want to waste money on something the dog didn't like.

Essentials (* indicates picture provided below)
Now that I have had the puppy over a week, I know what I like and what I use.  Here's a quick list:
  1. Minimum 6' long leash, or longer if you can find one
  2. Harness (for their safety, they WILL pull on the leash-protect the trachea!)
  3. Spill proof water dish *
  4. Bright, small LED flashlight for nighttime potty outside
  5. Crate with fleece blanket inside, not dog bed, plus a light blanket for over the top
  6. Basket to keep toys in *
  7. Treat bag that clips to pants
  8. Baby gate with opening door *
  9. Zukes Mini Naturals treats


What Didn't Work
1) I soon learned that "fetch" just doesn't work well as a long term game to tire the puppy out.  Even with a treat lure, he's more interested in just chasing an item and then sitting down to chew on it than bringing it back.  I think he's still too young to get into training just yet.

2) "Hide and Seek," which you'll often see suggested as a game to play with puppies, is total hogwash at this age too.  They have the attention span of a shoe lace.  They will get distracted trying to find you (yes, even if you are no more than 5 feet away) and will find something else along the way, such as the edge of the couch, or a piece of wood or dirt on the floor.

What Did Work!
1) The best thing so far has been to drag a a toy, say a plush toy or a rope or a rope with a plastic chewtoy on the end, along the ground and get him to chase it.  Then, let him have it and chew for a while.  When he stops chewing, grab the toy and then before playing again, make him sit so they learn the Nothing in Life is Free principle.  Then reward the sit by playing more chase.  This is pretty much the only "game" we play.  It's all he's capable of really.  Otherwise we explore around outside and walk short distances to meet neighbors or I let him chase me a little bit outside. At first I was playing this game with a stuffed squeekie ball, but he kept biting my hand on accident.  That's when it was back to the toy store and I found this gem, the orange monkey with rings:

It's amazing because it's big, as you can see by him and my foot for scale (I'm a size 7.5 W), but not TOO big.  That way I can drag it around on the ground and he can't bite my hand by accident! It's also very tough, he hasn't been able to chew through it at all. Here are a few other toys that work well for this game:

2) Other toys that are indispensable are the various kongs that you stuff, as you can see him enjoying one here:

THE best stuffing is the sausage rolls from Natural Balance.  You break off some chunks and stick them in there.  He stays occupied for at least 10-15 minutes.  It's a great way to transition them to their play pen so you can get something done.

3) In general, you are going to want some squeekie toys.  They make playing fun and are a great way to get your pup's attention and get them interested and active.  And honestly, he can't bite hard enough to make them squeak anyways so it's not really that annoying!

4) Last, but certainly not least, is taking them outside to explore around.  The best is if you can find a grassy area where they can chase you and explore.  It tires them out, they can pee, and it gets them used to the leash and collar.
*Tip: If they simply won't walk on the leash, carry them to the safe area and let them follow you around dragging the leash.


  1. Why would you say a fleece blank instead of a dog bed? My thoughts are they would chew right through the fleece blanket? Can you cover the dog bed with a fleece blanket inside the crate (this was my plan)? Your site is outstanding so excited for my little one to arrive home!!!

    1. Hi There! this is probably too late of a reply to be helpful, but I say a blanket or towel because they seem to prefer it in the crate instead of a squishy bed and if they shred a towel it's no big deal, you can still use it depending on damage, but a shredded bed is a) expensive and b)a total mess of stuffing everywhere and therefore becomes unusable. When I got Tulsi, I just used the towel in the crate method after my experience with Indie and it worked great.

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  3. What harness do you recommend for an 8-week old puppy?