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My dog isn't interested in balls or frisbees!

November 3rd, 2011, 11:49 PM
Hi everyone,

My dog just isn't interested in fetching. Don't even say fetching, if I throw a tennis ball or frisbee she will just look at it and ignore it. I end up fetching it myself!

Does anyone know how I can get her interested in it? I keep taking her to off leash dog parks but I can't get her to play at all!


November 4th, 2011, 08:59 AM
How old is she?

November 4th, 2011, 09:18 AM
Welcome, I would also ask what breed is she? some dogs are just not retrievers
Maybe if we had some pictures it would help:lightbulb: patti

November 4th, 2011, 10:36 AM
This is our best photo of her. _n.jpg

From what we can tell she's a German Sheppard cross...we think with a lab possibly? We got her from a shelter so there's no history on her. We think that she's 6 or 7. We originally thought she might be 4 or 5 but she's turning white fairly quickly so she's probably a little older.

She loves those stuffed toys at home and we can get her to tug with it but that's about it.

She's about the most laid back dog I've seen! When we take her to the park she will explore a bit and then settle right down next to us. lol

November 4th, 2011, 10:53 AM
I'm with PBpatti here - There's no rule at all on all dogs fetching.
Some dogs are simply not into fetching; I've seen plenty of them actually.

November 4th, 2011, 12:25 PM
why would you want to force her to do some thing that's supposed to be for fun that she obviously doesn't like doing?

Some people like to surf board when they go to the beach others prefer to just lay there and soak up rays. Dogs are the same, they're all different and have their preferences and it looks like you got the soak up the rays type. Considering she's an older lady, I think she's perfectly entitled to it.

..unless you are taking up a sport such as agility and are trying to increase your dog's drive.. but I still revert to why make your dog do some thing for fun if he doesn't enjoy it.

November 4th, 2011, 12:35 PM
awwwwww, what a sweet face she has. Thanks for being so promt :D with a picture of her. Maybe she just isn't into fetching.:sleepy:... patti

November 4th, 2011, 03:30 PM
Obviously I'm not going to force her into doing something she doesn't like. I'm wondering if she hasn't experienced it and I'm asking if there are ways to get her interested.

November 4th, 2011, 03:41 PM
I'm wondering if she hasn't experienced it and I'm asking if there are ways to get her interested.

it could be, or maybe cause her age, things slow down a bit..
you can try and play fetch with her and if she doesn't show interest, then maybe just go for a walk

I know with my dog Bree (she is 5 now) she always loved her ropes being thrown, now some days she wants to and some days she doesn't.. so we do something else like walking... she loves walking

she is a beautiful girl

November 4th, 2011, 05:56 PM
I've tried a lot of tricks to persuade my dog to fetch and all I got in response is a look that clearly says - "you want that?then why are you trowing it away?? Huh...silly hooman..."
tried tossing: his favourite chew toy; a treat ball ( with treats inside, of course - he ate the treat and came back for more, without the ball!; the ropes we play tug with; sticks;... nothing was returned more than once.

November 4th, 2011, 06:07 PM
What a beautiful dog. As some have said it may be lack of interest but it could be that your dog hasn't experience fetching. Since he likes to tug maybe you could pick up one of those tug ropes with the tennis ball attached, get him tugging and enjoying it, then toss it not too far...see if he goes for it and if he does try giving him a reward. He may learn to enjoy it.

Love the pic!! :thumbs up

November 4th, 2011, 06:08 PM
Even some retrievers are not into retrieving. Are there any toys she likes? What about tug? Or finding things as in a nosework game? Hide and seek with you? Perhaps some formal training would appeal to her, what about rally, obedience, agility, or .... add some more folks.

It is nice to simply play fetch sometimes if you are in a hurry or if you are like me and get migraines and can't walk the dog much once in a while.

There is a nice little tutorial on how to get your dog interested in a toy here:
It might be fun to try this, just for fun.

November 5th, 2011, 12:33 AM
I've tried a lot of tricks to persuade my dog to fetch and all I got in response is a look that clearly says - "you want that?then why are you trowing it away?? Huh...silly hooman..."
tried tossing: his favourite chew toy; a treat ball ( with treats inside, of course - he ate the treat and came back for more, without the ball!; the ropes we play tug with; sticks;... nothing was returned more than once.

Lol! That definitely sounds alot like my dog!

Thanks everyone for the advice and link. I just want her to have fun. She loves running like a crazy thing between me and my friend so I think it's something she would actually enjoy!

November 5th, 2011, 10:26 AM
Not all dogs are into fetching, it's as simple as that. I highly doubt it has any thing to do with her not being exposed to it. If she had a natural instinct or desire to do it, she would have done it already. She's just not into it.

November 15th, 2011, 07:42 AM
You can teach dogs to fetch. But if she is that laid back, why do you assume she would enjoy it?

If she was higher energy I could see it. I had a JRT who never could figure out why I would throw things lol. He never played with toys, never tugged etc. I eventually had to teach him to fetch when we got to open obedience. Now he is a ball a holic and loves fetching. But he is an active happy sort who loves to run and do things, fetching hand just never occurred to him lol.

If you want your dog to play, will she run after you if you run away? Can you play chase games?

November 15th, 2011, 09:59 AM
Hi Winterwisp. She looks lovely. Have you checked out her teeth to see there isn't a physical reason for her not wanting to carry hard things? And how long since a vet has gone over her? Without obvious signs she could still be feeling her age. If you want to teach her what "Fetch!" means, try it with a yummy treat. A beefhide chew, a pigs ear, a bone, whatever you'd usually give her, though not in a dog park where the other dogs would be after it also. She may not return it but at least she'll start thinking it's a fun thing. You can work on substituting a ball or frisbee if she shows she can cope. I have always found with mine that if they aren't active, there is usually an age related problem holding them back though, or even hip dysplasia.

November 15th, 2011, 11:24 AM
First and foremost it's rather like asking me to enjoy football - it just isn't going to happen in this lifetime.

But it doesnt mean it can't be done. It might be that she is shy, too dignified or just not a player. Since she likes stuffed toys and plays tug of war with them, use that to your advantage. Play to the point of gaining her enthusiastic attention, then toss the toy a few inches from her like it's an accident. Hopefully she will grab it. If not then grab it yourself and pounce on it like you are playfully claiming it. Toss it around and pounce on it again. Keep it up like you are a dog playing with a toy. Show her how it's done. But don't go on too long - always leave her wanting more. This might take a few rounds before she feels safe enough to try expressing her inner puppy. Remembering that her inner puppy might not choose to see the light of day again and just love her for her sedate, composed self as she is.

Once you gain some success you can try to transfer the game to a ball or frisbee, but I think she is a soft toy girl.

November 16th, 2011, 08:01 AM
We've been walking a Cocker for about 6 years,she does not know what to do with toys,does not run after a ball,does not play period.
The reason,I believe is,the owners never played with her,never bought her a toy,we've tried,but she just does not know what to's sad,because she's missed out on playing.

November 16th, 2011, 10:05 AM
Doesn't it seem strange that playing is not a natural response for all dogs? But there are formative times in a dogs life that can get missed and then we have to give them time to go though the learning process again. There are also very real situations where dogs have been taught not to play. They may have been corrected for playing with something and the dog translated that correction to all toys.
We know of plenty of rescue dogs who never played with a toy for years but eventually came to love certain toys or games because their people never gave up. Just continuing to keep toys available and trying to show the dog they are fun can pay off in the long run.

November 19th, 2011, 05:39 AM
I've a dog and facing the same problem up here in first place, my dog don't wanna learn soccer and even not interested in tennis balls, so I'm feeling very bad about this situation any guidelines.

November 19th, 2011, 08:33 AM
You know, something that can affect a dog's willingness to retrieve is the mouth feel of the toy or ball. My boy will enthusiastically fetch tennis balls. But tennis balls are bad for their teeth so I bought some hockey balls and I got the pick ones, that are softer and meant for cold weather. Big difference, he doesn't like them nearly as much.

On the other hand, we met folks with their Lab who told me their dog would not fetch at all but he picked up my boy's hockey ball and was intent on taking it home with him. They were astounded. They'd never tried hockey balls. Maybe the fact there was another dog there for him to compete with sort of influenced this but they couldn't get the ball back and had to leave it on my cars windshield for me.

November 19th, 2011, 08:48 AM
Why are tennis balls bad for their teeth? (just curious)

November 19th, 2011, 09:14 AM
Why are tennis balls bad for their teeth? (just curious)

The fuzzy coating is fibreglass or something and very tough and abrasive. plus the fuzzy coating holds in dirt and grit, more abrasives. It's worse if the dog is a mouther or chewer.

You can get special ones made for dogs that are supposed to be made of non-abrasive stuff but they are expensive. About $6/ball I think, the last time I looked. Too much money for balls you, well I, keep losing in the bush and tall grass. And heck, tennis balls are free. People give me their old dead ones after they finish playing tennis with them; they're still good for the dog though. Too bad.

I pay about $3/ball for the ball hockey balls which come rated for cold:
orange for summer
pink for cold
blue for extreme cold. I can't find any blue ones.

The colder the weather rating the softer the ball so they won't shatter when hit. I think it's important to be aware of the cold ratings. You wouldn't want your dog to grab one in winter and have it shatter in his mouth. I've never heard of that happening mind you.

November 19th, 2011, 10:04 AM
Interesting tidbits of info. Thanks
We rarely use tennis balls but I think there are a few in the "tickle truck" to be honest. We have aggressive power chewers here so its always been kong like stuff or they just pop them first fetch.