First let me say thank you for this web site. I am the proud owner of an 11 week GSP...Digby. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed reading through the forums and determining that my wife and I are not alone in what we are experiencing with Digby.
My questions is this; We understand that GSP's are highly intelligent and very active dogs. We are committed to providing her with as much mental and physical stimulation as necessary. My dilemma is that we are still in the stage where she is receving her puppy shots. After today's shot (3rd) she will have one set to go in 3 weeks. Since she is limited to confines of our backyard until the shots are complete what type of games would you recommend that will provide her with plenty of exercise and stimulation?
Her three most favorite games are the following; chasing around an empty plastic litre soda bottle. chasing and chewing a rubber toy that is tied to a 4 foot rope attached to a 4 foot piece of PVC. And finally chasing a chew toy that is attached to a 35 foot rope.
I am open to any suggestion of games that would be appropriate for her age and that can be done in a backyard.
With an 11 week old puppy, you are in the period where there little brains are sponges soaking up all kinds of new things. Your opportunity to lay a foundation for future training. With that said here are some things you can do for training and fun:
1) Get your pups nose working. Play find games, like hiding a really good treat and letting him sniff it out. Start out easy, put it somewhere close and help him find if he doesn't seem to catch on at first. Make a big deal out of him when he finds it. Drag a hot dog on the ground for a few feet (don't let him see you) and leave the hot dog at the end of the trail. Then take him over to the beginning of the trail and if he doesn't smell it automatically, let him sniff your hand and guide his nose to the ground. Once he gets the scent he should follow the short straight trail and find the hot dog reward at the end. Make a big deal of it. You can eventually make the trail longer and longer and then add a slight turn. This is really helpful if you ever want to do tracking as you are teaching the dog to follow a scent trail and not air scent.
2) The usual fair of sits and comes are always good to start at this age. Make them games and only do them in short spurts. Sits are pretty easy, you just have to gently show him what you want and he should catch on. For come you can let him wander a bit from you and then get down at his level and call come excitedly. He should be more than happy to come back to you at this age. If not run the other direction and he should come running. Make a big deal about it. You can also use toys and treats with this too.
Those are a couple of things you can start with. You might also want to go somewhere like amazon and look at the dog training books that have tricks. There are several good ones out there.
Good Luck with your new baby.
Thanks for the suggestions. I will try the hot dog tracking exercise tonight!