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Wii – Could a Video Game Help with Puppy Socialization?

I talked my wife into getting a Wii because it would allow us to play tennis in the winter, without even having to go anywhere.  We set it up yesterday and Peanut thought it was fine – just some new kind of DVD player.  Once we started playing tennis and boxing in the living room, though, he decided that we had gone completely crazy. He slumped upstairs to wait for our sanity to return.

That got me to thinking…what a great puppy socialization tool! Too bad I didn’t have this game 7 years ago, when Peanut was a puppy.

If dogs are raised in quiet homes without kids, they think it’s very odd when they meet them out and about, often leading to fear-based aggression.  Having a physically engaging video game like the Wii transforms quiet homes into a place where the adults occasionally jump up and down, punch the air, and giggle madly – basically, act like kids. Puppies raised in that environment will probably think that humans are crazy sometimes, and that’s ok!

To be on the safe side, it’s probably a good idea to give the puppy a chew toy, like a bully stick, once the video game begins, so that he’s got something fun to entertain him, too.  Otherwise, your puppy may end up turning the game into a chew-fest or decide that you really are scary, after all.

You could also do little short training sessions while you wait your turn. Then your puppy gets practice training in a chaotic environment. Excellent!

For older dogs getting used to the jumping about caused by the Wii (or other similar video games), you may want to give them something even tastier, like a stuffed Kong.

P.S. Don’t forget to put your remote away when you’re finished. It looks like an awfully good puppy chew toy.