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Dog doesn't play

November 17th, 2005, 07:06 PM
we adopted a jack russell terrier mix about a month ago. He'd been neutered 2 days before we got him, plus the added stress of being in the pound..we expected him to be quiet and laid back. Then he got a cold and was on antibiotics and a steroid, then had an ear infection, now they tell us he has a heart murmur and on top of that he's about 5. (we were told he was one). So we understand that age and his heart may be a factor. All he ever wants to do is lay on the couch. He won't play or jump or run ever. He has no interest in any toys or chewing on bones. He can be a bit energetic when he knows he's going outside, or when we come home, or when we're in the kitchen cooking. So I know the energy is there. I'm wondering, how much activity is normal?? I'm proud that we rescued him and we adore him. A lot of money has been spent since he'd been neglected for so long and we've paid up no questions asked. Now I think he's getting more comfortable, and while he is obedient, at times he just acts like a little brat! We feel like bad parents, but are getting frustrated. Our biggest problem is our bed..he wants to be on it all the time. We spend half the night trying to keep him off! I know that we signed up for the good and the bad...and maybe we are being bad, :sorry: but when we decided to get a our mind we pictured this energetic, loving animal that would be tons of fun. Our little guy, would rather lay on us than chase a ball...we are worried there may be additonal health problems causing his lethargy..but when he does those sneaky things like with the bed we wonder if it's just personality?

November 17th, 2005, 07:51 PM
I can understand why you are concerned about him not playing (sometimes rescued dogs have never played so they need to be taught how - if he'd been in a puppy mill or neglected for example). And 5 is actually pretty young yet - my dogs have all lived to be 17 or older so old age for dogs is typically 10 plus. His health probs may be related to whatever situation he was in - and possible genetic probs that you may not be aware of.

As someone who would never want my dog NOT in my bed, I am at a loss to understand your other concern. What's wrong with him in your bed. That always been where my dogs sleep!

November 17th, 2005, 09:29 PM
I'd be a little concerned about the dog seemingly lacking energy. Not so muc hthat it doesn't play. I've met dogs that didn't care for toys. Or were very picky on what toys they wanted to play with. Some dogs with an aversion to anything like a ball.

I sort of get not wanting the dog to sleep on you bed. I never had one till I was 22. And my dog's sleeping habits are different than mine... So even months later some nights she is so all over me I sleep badly.. But I like her nearby, so we are working on it.

If it's a serious issue for you, you need to crate the dog, or work on a command to lie on it's own doggie bed. And everytime the dog gets on your bed tell it off and go _________. Pillow, bed, etc..

But it will be time and effort consuming to work on. Dog wants to snuggle with it's pack, but I sort of understand.

November 17th, 2005, 09:45 PM
I'd give it time. Get to know him. He's being a good boy, right? I think you just have to let him relax and get used to you. He's unsure and probably untrusting right now. He'll come around when he's more comfortable and can let his guard down.:)

November 17th, 2005, 10:59 PM
When I brought Simon and Peaches home from the shelter, Simon didn't know how to be a dog, he had no clue what it meant to play, to romp, to trust. I credit 99.9% of his now joyful, playful, exuberant self to Peaches - she taught him that not all humans are bad, that tug of war is one of the most fun things you can do and sometimes just desqueaking EVERYTHING can make the day GREAT! Thing is, it took her and us almost 8 months before he really got it, and even now, he looks to me when he's unsure of anything (which is still a LOT). Be patient with him, he's been through tons and he will come around, I'm positive. If Simon could (and his history is nauseating as are many), then your lil guy WILL :) Hugs and wags :pawprint:

November 18th, 2005, 12:43 PM
I am sure you are right. We've had him for almost one month. I've spoken to other people who have said it has taken them 6-8 months before the dogs get fully comfortable. He's a good doggy, extremely loyal to us and shows us his love by constantly wanting to be around us, right at our feet, we feel bad because a few times we've accidentally stepped on him! He's only 23 pounds!! We did let him sleep on the bed at first, since he was so sick we wanted to keep an eye on him. But my boyfriend is very tall and between the two of them, they didn't leave me much room! We do have a doggy bed right by our bed but he seems to prefer the hamper at the foot of our bed! We figured because it was taller and he can watch us better. So we've let him do that. He goes between his bed and the hamper throughout the night. He is obedient and very smart. I get more upset over the bed thing than my boyfriend does, so I'm the one that will discipline him and very firmly say 'no, down' etc. so what he does now is in the middle of the night sneak to my boyfriend's side of the bed. Sneaky little guy!! The last two nights have been a bit better so I'm hoping with time it will completely improve.

I do understand about him having been rescued, that he may not be very trusting. WHich could explain him wanting to be by our side 24/7. One awesome thing is we can leave him home alone for several hours at a time and he's fine.

We've talked about the crate, right now, since he was so well trained we never considered it. We have given him full run of the house, but now we may want to since he is so restless at night and hearing his little paws all over the place on our hardwood floors and the clinking noise of his collar tags all night keeps us up! Thanks for listening guys!!

November 18th, 2005, 05:03 PM
I am taking my neighbors little Cocker Spaniel for a long walk every day,I felt sorry for her being cooped up in their the kitchen all day,she too has no clue about playing,because nobody ever played with her.
I bought her a squeaky-toy(Lucky's advice)and she is interested but only for a bit.After our walk,I usually take her to my backyard to let her run leash-free and I would like her to play,fetch etc...but all she wants is cuddles and treats:love:

November 19th, 2005, 12:30 AM
You could always take her collar off at night... Be sure to put it back on as soon as you get up to avoid un-collared accidental escapes though.

As for the feety noise, maybe the nails could be a bit shorter? How often do you cut them? Some people, like me, cut them every week so that I don't have to cut too much off and risk cutting the quick...

November 19th, 2005, 11:37 AM
You could always take her collar off at night... Be sure to put it back on as soon as you get up to avoid un-collared accidental escapes though.

As for the feety noise, maybe the nails could be a bit shorter? How often do you cut them? Some people, like me, cut them every week so that I don't have to cut too much off and risk cutting the quick...

I have to agree with this.

The one reason for that is if he is great with having free run of the house,why start to crate him just for this....Right?......:)

Maybe what you can do is take him out for a walk before you guys go to bed.And get him a Kong and fill it with some treats.This way it will keep him occupied till he gets tired....:)

November 21st, 2005, 05:15 PM
We really don't want to crate him. He is such a good boy. He's been getting better about the bed.
We bought him the Kong, but he doesn't care for it..he doesn't care for any objects at all!! We put peanut butter in there, different treats..nothing. He's an extremely finicky eater and sometimes will go a whole day without eating. It has been extremely frustrating because he gives us no signals..I know we should be patient and just wait. I'm just scared we aren't doing something right.
I've switched him to some high quality food..candidae canned and chicken soup for the dog lover's soul dry. He averages about 1/3 of a can with about a cup of the dry a day. I'll admit at first we seriously spoiled him with treats but we've slowed down. The only 'people' food he gets is on occasion a small piece of liver sausage, and maybe 1/3 cup of plain yogurt and some frozen green beans. He liked apples for a while but now won't touch them.
We're considering getting a puppy next year, maybe with that it will liven him up. Right now we want to focus on only him. We are trying to 'teach' him to play. We've taken him to friend's homes who have kids he shows no interest in them. It's kind of sad to see these little kids all excited about him and he just walks away from them. They come and ask us why our dog doesn't like them! :sad:

November 21st, 2005, 06:01 PM
Given his unknown background and how sick he's been, maybe he just needs more time to recover?! And if he wasn't well cared for, maybe he's just out of shape? Many shorter walks might be good. He gets excited when you go outside right? That's a start, maybe find some sort of rope toy (dollar stores are good for these) that you could play tug of war with him with? Does he like noises? You could maybe try a pop bottle with the label peeled off, those make cool noises and bounce all over when thrown. Or a kids ball with some air taken out so he can bite it. Keep trying, you'll find a toy he likes. (my Mom's golden loves to play, but there's something about Kongs that he just doesn't like and won't touch them so it might be the toy, not the dog)

November 21st, 2005, 06:13 PM
I bought several types of bones, plastic, edible, rawhide, even a real pork femur bone --nothing. I tried the kong, several stuffed animals, different size balls -- nothing. Rope toys, one plain one and one with a ball in the middle - nothing. I have presented them at different times, so to not overwhelm him with all of them. He's so smart and does a few tricks for treats. Also sometimes we'll tease him for a treat and make him jump from one couch to the other - that he likes for about a minute. Then he stops.
He shows excitement when I come home from work, I get a big sloppy kiss and a wagging tail. Then he doesn't leave my side the rest of the night. (My boyfriend works from home and is with him all day). I tried getting him into peekaboo once but it just irritated him. He loves to cuddle! But that's about it!
Granted I'm glad he's not super hyper like a lot of Jack Russel's are..I just wish he'd be excited over something else besides the two of us. :confused:
Like you said, not knowing his background. Maybe he wasn't given a lot of attention or toys. Whoever had him did train him well, they just didn't take care of his health very well. Ugh...I just want him happy!

November 21st, 2005, 06:58 PM
Have you tried taking him out to a dog park? I'm fostering a dog at the moment who isn't overly fond of toys or playing indoors, but he loves going to the dog park and running around with the other dogs.

Something about toys too. I could never get my dog, Kayla, to use the Kong or eat rawhide bones. Then I started fostering dogs and they showed her how it's done. Now she loves her Kong and even chews on the occasional bone! Maybe your dog just needs some other dogs to show him how to play with toys?

November 22nd, 2005, 06:20 PM
Ok, how about this, make the toys smell like food?! Charley doens't like plain rawhide, only the basted stuff (making a real racket chewing on one at my feet as I type) and the house brand sold at Sobey's of all places.

Try soaking a rope toy or tennis ball in beef or chicken stock, or put the treats in the pop bottle (really good treats that smell really strong) and throw a party as soon as he shows interest. If he's trying to make you happy, let him know that picking up the toy makes you happy.

November 23rd, 2005, 09:27 AM
In all the years we had Joey he only ever played with one toy, and that was not a frequent thing. On the first or second night he was here he "attacked" on of my daughter's stuffed animals. Pounced on it, shook it, pretended to hunt it. It was really cute. And it became like a security blanket for him, that stuffed bear. I bought him other toys but he never touched them--no once. But every few weeks he would drag that bear out and we would pull on it and when we got it from him we could toss it and he would run after it and pounce. WE always called it "bear time". But aside from "bear time" every few weeks the only thing that made Joey excited was having me around--and taking a car ride.

I think with rescue dogs you just don't know what could have made them the way they are. And since they don't have the language skills of even a child it's hard to reassure them. You can tell them that this is a forever home but the words don't make a difference. It just takes enough of the good experience of being loved to mitigate the bad events in their past. And that takes time.

We saw changes in Joey at about 6 month increments. I was saying, just before he got sick, that he was starting to behave like a normal dog, and not a dog with a hidden past.

Be patient. And enjoy being able to provide him with a sense of security. That's probably one of the reasons why he is so excited around you. You make him feel safe.