Does your pup have a favorite game? Tug? Wrestling? Fetch? Chase?

Zooka LOVES to wrestle. Preferably with like-minded individuals who can handle some rough and tumble play. That usually means larger breed energetic pups of similar age or adolescent dogs who still have lots of energy.

While wrestling is his clear favorite, he has started to enjoy playing Fetch as well. Balls, frisbees or any toys with a rope handle that you can swing are favorites of his.

Often I hear students say that their dogs love to play Fetch. But they don't give the toy up. Hmm. I hate to point out that it's not really Fetch if they don't bring it back!

Zooka actually is pretty good at bringing it back. And he often is actually very good at dropping it so I can throw it again.

Now when some dogs do bring the toy back, they sometimes drop the toy too far away. So you have to walk over to pick it up.

And some dogs will grab it before you can pick it up. Those dogs like to play Keep Away, not Fetch. Another fun game, to be sure. For them, anyway.

Zooka does not have a problem with bringing it back. As I said, he's actually pretty good at it. And he's good at bringing it in VERY close.

That's where the “full contact” part of the Fetch game comes in. He will often return with it and RUN STRAIGHT INTO ME with the toy in his mouth.

I do have to give him credit for coming in close.

Now, I need to teach him “not quite SO close!” to prevent me from being injured. When he was younger, he would bring it right up to me and jump in my lap if I were sitting on the ground or crouched down.

Not a big problem when your young puppy weighs 15 pounds.

A bigger problem when your much larger pup is closer to 40 pounds now!

So, this all goes back to that thing I ask my clients with puppies: What are your RULES OF PLAY?

Clearly, when I laid out the Rules for Fetch, I did not think to include what the rule was about being TOO CLOSE. (I had only considered if you did not bring it close enough.)

So, Zooka is helping me to further clarify my RULES FOR FETCH.

Thanks, buddy. Keep me on my toes. I appreciate it. Not always in the moment. But generally, I appreciate it.

Do you have clear Rules of Play? Does your pup know them?