5 active games to play with puppies

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Most dogs love water, and water-based games are great for growing puppies. Swimming and water play also provide a fabulous, low-impact workout that won’t put stress on a dog’s developing joints. Introducing water to your pet early also makes it more likely that he’ll be confident in aquatic environments throughout life.

Even if your dog takes to water like a duck, it’s a good idea to use a pet-appropriate life vest until he’s proved himself to be a strong swimmer. If he’s never been in water before, you should also avoid strong tides. Instead, try a calm lake or swimming pool where you can get into the water with your dog. Bring plenty of his favorite fetch toys -- preferably ones that float -- and let the good times begin.

A word of caution: If you have a dog that doesn't like the water, don’t force the issue. Anxiety can quickly lead to panic, which can lead to tragedy in a watery environment. Also, give your pet a rest every 10 minutes or so. Puppies will become tired quickly when swimming, especially in an ocean or fast-moving river.

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