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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I adopted my older dog three years ago. I make sure to walk him 1 hr everyday and get him out of the house as much as I can- he goes anywhere I can take dogs. But he seems incapable of entertaining himself at all. He basically just watches me- jumping up to follow me and gets excited of I put my shoes on thinking we are going somewhere. I feel so bad that unless I’m actively entertaining him he just pouts or sleeps. Does anyone know why some dogs end up like this and how to remedy it? I feel so guilty if I’m not constantly entertaining him but I also have an adult life to live.. I guess I just feel like he doesn’t live a very fun life since I am at work a lot and I can’t take him out all the time and he doesn’t play or even show interest in anything other than going on walks which I only have so much time to take him out- but I am very diligent with making sure he gets a long walk on a daily basis.
 

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Cat-dog, GSD spayed female and Tornado-dog, JRT mix, neutered male
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Most dogs don't entertain themselves. And those that do usually do so in ways that are not appreciated (yes Tornado-dog, I'm talking about you).

While I understand having a life, only dedicating an hour a day to your dog is really unfair. You don't have to be actively walking your dog, but even just spending time brushing his coat, petting him, etc, is important. Likewise, going for walks is great, but if the weather allows, a car ride is just as exciting. Even if it's just to wait in the car while you shop.*

If you are working full days and then going out with friends at night, you are being unfair to your dog. Why not find activities with your friends where your dog can join you? Things like drive in movies, outdoor restaurants, hanging out at the park, camping, etc. How about dedicating one day a week for just your dog? Maybe Sundays can be reserved for taking your dog out for several hours. Invite a friend along. Maybe a friend has a dog and you can take them both.

Some folks may suggest you get a second dog. Please do not do this. If you do not have enough time to give to one dog, you do not have the time to give to two dogs. And while two dogs can keep each other company, it is NOT a substitute for dog-owner interaction.

*Please please please! Only leave your dog in the car if the weather is cool enough. If you find it unbearable to spend five minutes in the car with the windows rolled up, then your dog should not be in it (windows up or down).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Most dogs don't entertain themselves. And those that do usually do so in ways that are not appreciated (yes Tornado-dog, I'm talking about you).

While I understand having a life, only dedicating an hour a day to your dog is really unfair. You don't have to be actively walking your dog, but even just spending time brushing his coat, petting him, etc, is important. Likewise, going for walks is great, but if the weather allows, a car ride is just as exciting. Even if it's just to wait in the car while you shop.*

If you are working full days and then going out with friends at night, you are being unfair to your dog. Why not find activities with your friends where your dog can join you? Things like drive in movies, outdoor restaurants, hanging out at the park, camping, etc. How about dedicating one day a week for just your dog? Maybe Sundays can be reserved for taking your dog out for several hours. Invite a friend along. Maybe a friend has a dog and you can take them both.

Some folks may suggest you get a second dog. Please do not do this. If you do not have enough time to give to one dog, you do not have the time to give to two dogs. And while two dogs can keep each other company, it is NOT a substitute for dog-owner interaction.

*Please please please! Only leave your dog in the car if the weather is cool enough. If you find it unbearable to spend five minutes in the car with the windows rolled up, then your dog should not be in it (windows up or down).
I actually do spend tons of time with him though, it’s just that like “active” things with him is generally about 1 hr per day minimum- that’s on days I can’t take him all over the place. But he goes everywhere with me when I am able to take him- even running’s errands. He is only ever alone for maybe 4 hours max because my fiancé works graves and also takes him everywhere he can. He also goes to my parents home on long days and they take him all over the place when they can. It was too hot this summer for many hikes but trust me- he is not neglected AT ALL. He has toys and treats and cuddles etc. And I think compared to many dogs he gets out of the house all the time. And I never go out with friends I don’t really even have friends so I’m not going out at night and leaving him alone. So I guess all of this is why I am so confused by his behavior and wonder what could cause this in a dog.
 

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Cat-dog, GSD spayed female and Tornado-dog, JRT mix, neutered male
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My Cat-dog has never even looked at a toy. Before Tornado-dog came, she spent her time under the bed or in the bathroom sleeping (I suspect she was crated to the extreme) unless I took her for walks. As she had been attacked by a dog before I adopted her, the walks were traumatic. One day, she came in from pottying and made a very awkward play bow to the cat - who just walked away. It was then I decided to try and get her a puppy.

Now, Tornado-dog will go to her (in the bathroom, she no longer goes under the bed during the day) and initiate play. They will play for 10-60 minutes at a time. When that happens, she comes out of the bathroom. Occasionally she will end up laying in the living room and if I don't say anything or get up, she will stay there for a while.

Outside, she has trouble playing due to her fear of being attacked by a stray dog (even in a fully fenced yard - but it's getting better). If Tornado-dog plays with the sprinkler, Cat-dog doesn't know what to do. She tries to make him stop because it doesn't make sense to her. If he shoves one of his toys in her face, she is clueless.

So, it may be that your dog just never learned how to play. He may have been isolated as a puppy and never experienced toys and play. In that case, it's difficult for them to develop that now.

Have you introduced him to another dog? How did it go? It may be worth it to try some playdates with a calm female and see how he takes to it. If he shows any attempt to interact in a playful manner, then maybe you can explore that further.
 

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It is not necessary to entertain your dog 100% of the time, and meaningful one-on-one time spent with your dog going for walks, training, or playing a game are enough for the vast majority of pet dogs. For most people on weeknights that does mean about an hour or so, and the rest of the time the dog is chilling with the family. It sounds like your dog gets plenty of entertainment.

Some dogs struggle with learning to settle even if they've been properly exercised. You could probably take them on a 10 mile hike and they'd still be looking to you when they got home. Sometimes you have to teach them to settle. Often times, this means simply ignoring their stares or little whines or pouting. It typically ends when they realize it gets them nothing. Sometimes it means placing them in a pen or crate to enforce the settle. Sleeping, though, is a perfectly acceptable form of "entertaining themselves". Adult dogs sleep 12-14 hours a day, and even more if they're active! Their sleep cycle isn't like a human's, so don't feel bad if your dog decides to nap during periods of inactivity.

I have a med-high energy dog who can be soundly sleeping one second but will pop up if he thinks I'm doing something interesting in the next. You get used to it. I've learned to accept that he wants to be part of everything I do no matter how boring, and I've simply learned to ignore the stare!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My Cat-dog has never even looked at a toy. Before Tornado-dog came, she spent her time under the bed or in the bathroom sleeping (I suspect she was crated to the extreme) unless I took her for walks. As she had been attacked by a dog before I adopted her, the walks were traumatic. One day, she came in from pottying and made a very awkward play bow to the cat - who just walked away. It was then I decided to try and get her a puppy.

Now, Tornado-dog will go to her (in the bathroom, she no longer goes under the bed during the day) and initiate play. They will play for 10-60 minutes at a time. When that happens, she comes out of the bathroom. Occasionally she will end up laying in the living room and if I don't say anything or get up, she will stay there for a while.

Outside, she has trouble playing due to her fear of being attacked by a stray dog (even in a fully fenced yard - but it's getting better). If Tornado-dog plays with the sprinkler, Cat-dog doesn't know what to do. She tries to make him stop because it doesn't make sense to her. If he shoves one of his toys in her face, she is clueless.

So, it may be that your dog just never learned how to play. He may have been isolated as a puppy and never experienced toys and play. In that case, it's difficult for them to develop that now.

Have you introduced him to another dog? How did it go? It may be worth it to try some playdates with a calm female and see how he takes to it. If he shows any attempt to interact in a playful manner, then maybe you can explore that further.
My dog sounds a lot like cat dog in some ways- he will play a bit when I throw the toy for him but he will eventually lose interest and stop- which I always joke I must not be playing the game right (haha). And when I first got him he would just sit in my bedroom and seemed very withdrawn, only came out of his shell if we went for a walk. So maybe you are right in that he was isolated when he was young. He does just fine with dogs and has interest in them but he doesn’t want to play with them and he has started fights with dogs that won’t leave him alone. Is there anything you felt cat dog connected with and helped keep them entertained alongside walks and other adventures? So I guess basically the time they are at home?
 

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Honestly, until Tornado-dog arrived, the most exciting thing for her was people visitors. If a friend came over she would come out in the living roomand hang out. As soon as the person left, she'd go back to her bathroom. Her only other interest is people food - she loves chips, goldfish crackers, and french fries.

As she spends more time in the backyard, she is getting more comfortable. At first, she went out pottie and immediately ran back in and she only went out if I did so too. Now, I can let her out and she will follow the scents around the yard. That makes her happy. She also loves her cats.
 

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Honestly, until Tornado-dog arrived, the most exciting thing for her was people visitors. If a friend came over she would come out in the living roomand hang out. As soon as the person left, she'd go back to her bathroom. Her only other interest is people food - she loves chips, goldfish crackers, and french fries.

As she spends more time in the backyard, she is getting more comfortable. At first, she went out pottie and immediately ran back in and she only went out if I did so too. Now, I can let her out and she will follow the scents around the yard. That makes her happy. She also loves her cats.
I wouldn't give her chips, goldfish aor fries. The salt is not good for them at all.
If she's following scents around the yard, maybe try hiding treats out there to find. We do that with our beagle mix and she just loves it.
We get her to sit a stay indoors in the hallway too while we hide a few kibbles of her food. Then when say "find it!" and her nose goes right to the ground while she zips around. Give it a try indoors or outside.
 

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I wouldn't give her chips, goldfish aor fries. The salt is not good for them at all.
If she's following scents around the yard, maybe try hiding treats out there to find. We do that with our beagle mix and she just loves it.
We get her to sit a stay indoors in the hallway too while we hide a few kibbles of her food. Then when say "find it!" and her nose goes right to the ground while she zips around. Give it a try indoors or outside.
She only gets those on very rare occasions. Otherwise the only treat she'll eat are kirkland dog biscuits and only when she's under the bed. And she will not go search for treats - she only follows the scent of the nextdoor cats.
 
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