Puppy Love is an early example of a virtual pet simulator. The player becomes the owner of a puppy that has just been rescued from life in a junkyard. The puppy dreams of winning ribbons and trophies at a dog show and it's the player's task to train it up to do so.
When starting out the puppy will run around the player's front yard and doing tricks on its own. After it has done a specific action the player can press the spacebar and name it. When the name thereafter is typed in the puppy will attempt to do it again. The player can then reward the puppy for doing it right by giving it a bone and it will then eventually learn it. When a few tricks have been learned it is possible to create choreographed routines. This is done through a built in programming language using simple English sentences where the player types in plain text which tricks each routine should contain and how they should be performed.
After learning some tricks and routines the puppy can enter the competition of a dog show which is made up of ten events. The first three involve doing specific tricks while the next six involve doing choreographed routines in competition with other dogs. After winning all nine the puppy is allowed to compete in the final and most challenging event. To make the puppy do tricks or routines the player simply types in their names but it can only perform tricks that it has practised at home.