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Old March 16th, 2004, 12:26 AM
kirei kirei is offline
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Location: Toronto
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Teaching a dog to play.

I recently resucued a german shepard/lab cross from the pound. She has been there for at least a year and is around 2 years old. I'm not sure where she was before she was put in the pound. She is very well behaved and besides a few kennel related issues she's fine.

But she doesn't seem to know how to play. I have a ton of toys here, tennis balls, bones, rope things, noisy things. She just ignores all of them. She also won't chase balls when I throw them.

How do I teach a dog who obviously missed out during puppyhood how to play?
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Old March 16th, 2004, 03:33 AM
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kasher+tazz kasher+tazz is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Leeds, UK
Posts: 88
How long ago did you get your dog? Its just I got Tazz from a rescue centre nearly a year ago now and he had also missed out on puppy play and socialisation. Luckily he was really interested to meet other dogs and that wasnt a problem but he was just not interested in toys or playing with me, he used to sit in front of the fire all day looking sorry for himself! It has taken a long time and i didnt get him to play with anything until he trusted me. My vet said i could try pushing at his shoulders as this is how dogs get each other to play. You must be careful not to be too dominent and scare him, but it really helped tazz and he then started taking toys from my hand when i had got him excited. Then i got him chasing thing by running alongside him with them in my hand (must have looked funny to the neighbours!) and eventually, since kasha came along, he plays with the toys and takes them from her! Now he plays just like any other dog, he's still prefers interacting with other dogs (one of the reasons i got kasha). Little kasha, i have had since she was 8 weeks old and she is more interested in toys than dogs, probably because she has always been to training and had me distracting her from the other puppies with toys!

let me know if it works!
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Old March 16th, 2004, 01:33 PM
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Dee_petlover Dee_petlover is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 118
I have a bluetick coonhound that I had to teach to play fetch. She wasn't a fetch dog she would chase the toy sometimes, but get there and ignore it or just not bring it back. Fetch is a great way to burn off energy and I really wanted her to play.

I used the clicker method when she would pick up the toy and come near by me I would click and she would get a treat. Eventually she realized that if she got it AND brought it back she would get a treat and now she really likes to play fetch.

Maybe clicker training would work for your dog learning to play too. Here is a link to a site that gives you info about clicker training.

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Old March 31st, 2004, 01:06 PM
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petdr petdr is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 262
Dog won't play

Hi there,

Here is something you can try. First off remove all the toys from the dog's environment. Pick them all up and put them away and keep them out of site. What you want to do is get the dog excited about 1 or 2 toys.

Try this exercise 2-3 times a day for 7 days. It should work and may well work within just a few days.

1 - Take your dog outside and tie your dog to a post, railing etc.
2 - Get a human friend and a dog toy. Use 1 toy that you can stuff food in like a Kong, an old tennis ball or any of the new pouch toys that you can stuff. Stuff it with food - something the dog loves but that won't fall out when thrown.
3 - Toss the toy back and forth to your friend while your dog is watching. Make a big production during the toss - you want your dog to witness (and smell) the fun. Do NOT give your dog the toy, just let her watch the fun.
4 - After the 5-10 minutes bring everyone back inside. Take the toy and put it on the fridge or in a place where the dog can see it but not get to it. Repeat for 1 week.

On day seven BEFORE your dog has eaten and is hungry. Take out the toy and go outside with the dog and play fetch. This should solve the problem.

Very quickly the toy should become something the dog loves to play with and you probably won't need to stuff it with food.

Remember to put the toy away after use to maintain the dog's excitement.

Good luck!

Julie Sansregret - AHT, Dog trainer
Guides Canins
1313, rue PineRidge,
St-Lazare-de-Vaudreuil, Qué.
J7T 2M7 (450) 424-1469
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Old June 6th, 2006, 09:37 AM
Lola22 Lola22 is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Minneaplis
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I am just looking for more info about how to teach a dog to play. I have a new, rescued dog who came very well behaved but does not seem interested in playing. I'm looking for more info. Thanks.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 11:49 AM
SnowDancer SnowDancer is offline
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Location: Toronto
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My 2 Dachshunds that were super brilliant did not play with toys as a rule - their other less intellectual brothers did though to great lengths. From time to time just to please my husband they would toss the ball to him - but other than that they preferred to supervise, watch TV for check out the kitchen. Maybe your dog just doesn't like to play with toys. My Eskie likes to chew toys and chase but not bring back. Will drop toy from bed and wag his tail like crazy waiting for one of us to pick it up for him - that is his idea of "playing". You won't find him playing with a toy on his own.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 02:33 PM
PeaceGirl PeaceGirl is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 2
Smile Rescued Dog Wont Play and has had no Socialization

We rescued a 3 year old beagle a year ago from the pound and he will not play at all.

We are trying to teach him to play fetch. We have really only tried to start this task.

We found an article talking about putting a treat in a tennis ball and play with them and run along side them with that after you throw it. He will chase the ball, but he doesn't even try to pick it up so we are no where near the bring it back stage.

Is this a good start or what. We give him a treat every time he goes after it and plays with the ball a little. We are trying to do the positive reinforcement and wondering if this is a good way of going.

The other issue we have is that this dog must never have been socialized as a puppy because he has issues around other dogs especially if my daughter is around.

So a friend and myself are going to start taking him to Pet's Smart or Pet Co for awhile without my daughter and try to start introducing him to other dogs on neutral territory. This is something she saw on It's Me or the Dog. Does anyone have any suggestion son either of these matters I would greatly appreciate the help?

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Old August 12th, 2010, 04:56 PM
jakesdad jakesdad is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: virginia
Posts: 1
fetch a tennis ball

A month ago tomorrow I rescued a 2 year old standard poodle. He had been badly neglected and doesn't have any interest in playing. His toys are ignored except when there is food inside and then he becomes bored quickly. One thing that has worked is to soak a tennis ball in chicken boullion for a few hours. We go out in the yard and he will fetch the ball until he is exhausted.
When we come in I put the ball back in the bowl in the refrigerator, out of sight and health safety. Still little playing inside, but now am going to try the shoulder nudge.

Last edited by jakesdad; August 12th, 2010 at 04:57 PM. Reason: typed she rather than he
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Old August 13th, 2010, 08:21 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,528
One thing that has worked is to soak a tennis ball in chicken boullion for a few hours.
Careful with that. Worst case, dog swallows tennis ball or large pieces of it. Second worst, tennis balls are extremely abrasive on a dog's teeth if he chews it. After seeing the blunted ends of my friend's dog's canines I've just switched to ball hockey balls.
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