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Dog doesn't play is this normal?

(24 Posts)
fairgame84 Tue 24-Oct-17 18:07:22

Dog is a 6 year old rescue and I've had him since July. He is the softest most loving boy ever but he's not interested in playing at all. I've tried all sorts of different toys and he just looks at me like I'm crazy.
I don't know if it's due to him being a stray from puppy stage so he's never done the playing stage.
He pretty much sleeps all day, he's like a statue but with a pulse!
Any tips on getting him to play?

picklemepopcorn Tue 24-Oct-17 18:14:51

Have you done an online search?

Have you tried doing a playbow and getting excited about playing, perhaps with a person or another dog, so she gets the idea?

I had to teach my dog to play fetch- I’d give him a treat for bringing me the toy, then he'd get the hang of it.

SwimmingInTheBlueLagoon Tue 24-Oct-17 18:20:36

My bros rescue dog is the same. She has learnt to like playing with footballs but still looks like confusedhmmWTF with everything else. She has seen my dog play, both on his own and with me and she just looks at him/us totally mesmerised but still with a very much a WTF look.

MostPeopleAreCunts Tue 24-Oct-17 18:24:46

What breed/likely mix is he?

fairgame84 Tue 24-Oct-17 18:35:41

He's a lab cross.
We've had my ex's very playful 2yo gsd bitch come round but he doesn't join in. The last time she came she had played with some of the toys while he laid on the sofa watching her.
After she left he put the toys she had played with outside. I brought them back in later that day and he put them straight back outside again!

Medeci Tue 24-Oct-17 18:41:46

It's still early days, you've only had him a few months. He's probably just enjoying the novelty of being somewhere safe and comfortable and having regular meals.
It took my rescue dog nearly a year to start playing. He'd just stand and watch other dogs playing with balls and tuggies, as if trying to work out what was happening.
He must've eventually realised it looked like fun as one day he brought me a ball and dropped it at my feet and we haven't looked back since smile.
So its worth making sure he gets a chance to be around other dogs while they're playing.

Athome77 Tue 24-Oct-17 18:48:56

I once had a rescue, got her in 1999 and she died in 2009, probably about 3 when I got her, I also had another dog who I got about two years earlier when she was about 12 weeks. Anyway the rescue never learned to play, never got possessive over toys, just didn’t know why they were there, the other dog gave up trying to play with toys with her. The only thing the rescue would do is chase the dog/ be chased.

StandardPoodle Tue 24-Oct-17 18:53:39

Our (now elderly) rescue didn't know how to play when we first had her. She became ball orientated but was never interested in playing with other dogs until we had the poodle - she'll play tug with him and sometimes play bow.

fairgame84 Tue 24-Oct-17 18:58:46

Thanks for all of your replies.
I'll keep trying and keep up with the socialising as well. Hopefully one day it will just click for him.
I think it will take a lot to get him to give up his sofa snuggles though!

Medeci Tue 24-Oct-17 19:18:05

What a lovely boy smile. No rush to get him to play as long as he's happy and not whinging because he's bored.

MardAsSnails Tue 24-Oct-17 19:21:35

My rescue lab has just started learning to play. He's been living here now for 18 months, and our old girl has been teaching him.

He currently picks up his ball and carries it around. It's a start. He's started twirling round and rolling in the rug. He's a lovely old boy even though he doesn't play properly yet. He's 9, so I hope he gets some play.

tabulahrasa Tue 24-Oct-17 19:27:24

My friend's dog doesn't play, she's not a rescue... just isn't interested in toys.

WhatInTheWorldIsGoingOn Tue 24-Oct-17 19:28:35

My 8 year old dog doesn't play. She just looks at me blankly like I'm stupid. Other dogs zoom around her desperately trying to get her to engage. She just keeps on her plodding path ignoring their existence!

Bubble2bubble Tue 24-Oct-17 19:33:04

Gorgeous boy smile
I have seen this a lot with rescue dogs tbh. My theory is that if a dog has largely been ignored and isolated for their whole life then they don’t learn how to play.
My own ddog4 came to me at around 10 months. He did rough play with similar aged dogs but it was years before he even seemed to notice toys and even now has no intention of chasing a ball - despite being s retriever x !

DorothyGherkins Tue 24-Oct-17 19:36:16

Another rescue here, she didn't play when we first got her, and we could never find any way engage her in play. Never accepted food treats either, would sniff and walk away. She was the best dog ever though, all she ever wanted was walks and cuddles and sleeps!

BlessThisMess Tue 24-Oct-17 20:35:10

Same here. We got Ddog from a breeders (breeding bitch) when she was 6 years old. She has never played and she is now 12. All she does is eat, sleep and be cuddled - she's great!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 24-Oct-17 20:37:08

My Labrador who I've had since a 7 week pup has never ever played. It's of no interest to him. He's 10 now, and still looks like I'm barking if I throw a ball last him.

fairgame84 Tue 24-Oct-17 20:53:08

Thankyou all so much for reassuring me flowers

blueskyinmarch Tue 24-Oct-17 20:57:12

My 5 year old lab doesn’t play. She isn’t interested in balls at all. We have had her since a pup so not a rescue.

insert1usernamehere Tue 24-Oct-17 21:40:21

I had a dog as a child that only occasionally wanted to play as a youngster but eventually grew out of it. Not a rescue, but he was 18 months when he was sold by the breeder.

There are some advantages to a dog that won't play - I'm trying to eat my dinner and PestDog is nagging me for a game of fetch grin

Jasmin82 Tue 24-Oct-17 23:24:34

Last January I took on a 13 month old collie male. He had spent the first 6 months of his life in a barn, and then the following 7 months with no training/play/stimulation.
He turned up with no idea of how to be a dog, nervous, FA towards new dogs, resource guarding of food with other dogs...
It took time. Lots of time, patience (from me, resident collie and friend's collie) and treats, but he started to get the hang of things.
He went to his furever home in April a much more confident, happy collie. He still had his issues around food and new dogs, but he's settled in and his new "slaves" love him.
Every dog is different, really. Resident collie will play with other dogs, but she won't play fetch or play with me. She is happy to play with squeaky/chew toys.
But sofa snuggles are amazing.

MostPeopleAreCunts Wed 25-Oct-17 11:53:02

Some dogs are just less playful than others, but I think with a rescue there's a lot you don't know about their past experiences - a dog might have been punished for growling whilst playing tug, for instance, or other stupid 'dominance theory' stuff like never letting them win a tug game (not much bloody fun for the dog, then! hmm). Gun dogs often like holding things - toys, socks etc - but again, if they've chewed/mouthed something and been punished for it, then holding something soft might have a negative association.

Is he food oriented? If so, maybe focus on food games; dog puzzles, training him to use his nose to find a bit of livercake, clicker training (with plenty of treats). Lots of activities where he's interacting positively with you and learns to be relaxed but open to new experiences.

anxious123 Wed 25-Oct-17 18:03:38

My dog isn't a big one for playing unless he's tormenting his lurcher doggy pal. He's got a rope ball that he'll occasionally give some attention to or his very bloody noisy moo cow toy but other than that he isn't really interested.

His kong is the closest he gets to liking a toy.

NoSquirrels Wed 25-Oct-17 20:03:45

Ah - thanks for this thread! We've just adored a lovely soft-as-butter girl, and she is resolutely uninterested in playing with toys.

But I think we'll persuade her in time... the Kong is a big hit, and she wants to play I think, just is a little apprehensive about how we'll react still.

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