Puppy Training: Have a Ball

Learn how to make puppy training fun.

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Have a Ball: Teaming up with a pooch to play ball can be fun for both you and your pup.

The Gain: You'll get more doggie smiles, particularly from Labrador Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels, which will chase the ball because of their retrieving instincts.

The Pain: Ball throwing is not recommended for dogs with slipped discs or hip dysplasia &mdash this activity can exacerbate these conditions. Check with your veterinarian before starting your pup on any vigorous excercise program. Especially if it usually leads a sedentary life.

Cost Factor: Tennis balls made for dogs cost $6.99 to $7.99, but you can always just pick up a can of tennis balls at your local sporting goods store.

Extra Tidbits: In hot weather, ball throwing is best in the early morning or late evening to prevent heat-related problems. Bring water for an after-play slurp. A bonus: Extra tail wags if tossed on paw-friendly grassy fields.

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