Hi Everyone - this group has been so knowledgable about all things puppy, I hope you have some play-time suggestions.
Julie is just 12 weeks old today and I'm looking for suggestions on ways that she and I can play that don't encourage her to be aggressive or encourage her belief that she's in charge around here.
The last few days she's taken to barking at me, loudly. She's more interested in playing with my hand (nipping and even biting) than with the toy I'm holding in my hand. She loves clicker training and never seems to lose interest. We'll do that for 20-30 minutes a few times a day. I can tell that she wants to interact with me (not the toy) but I'm not sure what we else we can do together that will be fun for her and support our training goals.
First, while you certainly want o encourage good MANNERS, which includes not putting teeth on humans!0 play with your puppy will NOT encourage aggression, nor will it make her believe she's "in charge". That's not the way dogs think.
As far as types of play, fetch is a great on. If she doesn't naturally fetch, you cans tart her off with a tiny tupperware-type container with a few treats inside. She will soon learn that to get it open and get a treat, she needs to bring it back to you.
Another good one (and this can be VERY useful in later training) is "tug". Most dogs really enjoy it. The important thing is that YOU remain in control of the tug toy. Encourage her to tug, then encourage her to "drop it" by trading for a treat, then giving the tug right back. It's important to end this game with her still wanting more. Don't wait until she gets tired of it.
Another good one is a "flirt pole". (you can find these on Amazon among other places) It's like a fishing pole for dogs!
You wiggle the toy and have her chase it. You can wear off a TON of energy very quickly with this toy!!!
And remember... from her perspective, all your training sessions are "play" too!