Puppies aren’t a tough crowd. Kind of like toddlers. In fact, many days I feel the same way I did when I had toddlers and preschoolers underfoot and needed to keep them out of trouble. Other than your constant love and attention, they really just need an empty box or something messy like play-doh (or the stuffing from that animal they just ripped apart). Here’s ten ideas I’ve gleaned from my repertoire of puppy entertaining:
- Novelty is good. The pups love new things. That said, I have to qualify the definition of new things as “something they haven’t seen for a few days.” Novelty is relative with this crew. And new things can also be items like an empty paper towel roll (see video), the tag on a towel, the spray bottle I set down for a minute, or the stink bug who happened into the wrong puppy pen.
- The box is always better. I remember plenty of Christmases when we thought we’d found the perfect Santa gift, only to have the recipient tear the gift from its box and then have more fun with the empty box. The puppies are big fans of cardboard and happily crush boxes for me in preparation for the recycling bin. Their favorite plaything BY FAR is an under-the-bed-box. Whenever I place it in the pen, they react as if it’s Christmas morning – big eyes, yips, major excitement. It’s still their favorite play toy and they can spend entire mornings shoving each other in and out of it. Eliza and Angelica seem to win the space most often, but as soon as it’s deserted Peggy and Alexander will claim it for nap time.
- Mess is inevitable with every good time. When the pups start tearing around their pen in one of their wild games of race-around-and-body-slam-each-other, I know I better be ready for the clean up. I know that in the course of this craziness, someone will poop and then EVERYONE will run through it. And all that physical effort means many of them will also pee and then during the next tussle, most of them will roll right through the waters. Unlike my teenagers, puppies have no qualms about puppy poo/pee.
- Change in scenery works wonders. I broke down and purchased another puppy pen so that we could set up a semi-permanent playyard outside for the crew. It’s a bit of a process carting all nine of them outside and up the hill to a relatively level spot in the grass, but once they’re all out there it’s party time. And the best part – no clean up!