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My dog will not play

1333 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Rocksmom
My dog is an active 13-year-old (small dog). He will not play. He never has, not with toys of any kind nor with me (fetch, etc.). We think he had been abused before we got him, abused by being housebroken using old-fashioned punishment-based methods. Of course he is bored. How do I keep him from being bored?
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Some dogs just aren't that into toys. My GSD, who I've had since she was four months old, and who is now eight years old, has never been particularly interested in them. What she does like is playing with food (chasing a tossed treat, chasing a treat in my hand, and searching for kibble thrown into the grass, and the like) and personal play (tag, chase me, etc). And even those didn't come naturally. I had to teach her.

I know of a few blog posts, on teaching your dog to play, but the best resource I know is an online class.

This is the first blog, on chasing a treat in your hand. Food Play - "Prey Hand" ~ Denise Fenzi's Blog
This one includes the link to a free podcast on playing with your dog. Free podcast on play with Denise ~ Denise Fenzi's Blog

This class is a paid ($50) self study class, meaning that it doesn't have discussion or homework forums like a live class, but it's still an excellent resource, and how I finally figured out how to play with my GSD. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - FE101: Relationship Building Through Play

To keep him entertained without you having to interact with him, you can give him puzzle toys, like a Kong stuffed with canned food and other goodies and then frozen, cardboard boxes filled with crumpled paper with treats that he can look for, toss a handful of kibble onto the floor or into the yard for him to find, and stuff like that.
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