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My dog doesn't know how to play

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Beck19, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. Beck19

    Beck19 New Member Registered

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    He's a yorkies, and he doesn't understand how to play with a human. He won't play with humans. He was abused before we got him, and he still has a lot of that training I think. We got him in February this year, and he is almost a completely different dog. He's very sweet, wants attention 24/7, is overall a good boy, but has some boredom I think. He eats things he isn't supposed to, and I've given him toys, taken him to petsmart to pick out a toy (which he didn't), LOVES bones, and given him a variety of toys to play with. Squeaky, crinkley, furry, balls, rope, any thing I can find, and he just doesn't have any interest. His only interest is food. He gets fed once a day, sometimes twice a day. We give him bits of cheese now and then, crackers, bacon, eggs, various other foods that are safe for dogs.
    Any advice would be helpful.
     
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  2. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    How about treat-dispensing toys, stuffed Kongs or interactive toys (search for Nina Ottinson to see what I have in mind)? Or sniffing/searching games (e.g. hide & seek), or snuffle mats? They might keep him occupied and give him the mental stimulation he needs.

    Beyond that, I wouldn't worry. The important thing is that he feels safe. You don't say how long you've had him and it might be he needs more time. One day he might start to play but if not, that's OK.
     
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  3. arealhuman

    arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Welcome to the forum and well done on giving this little tyke a loving home :) I have a rescue dog and he needs a lot of encouragement to play, but if I act all excitable and run around lots, he eventually gets into it but only indoors - too many distractions outside. He very rarely picks up toys on his own, but actually did over the weekend which was a bit of surprise. He has a new toy that he does like quite a lot and it's thanks to @JudyN - it's a 12cm diameter rubber ball with a single hole in which you drop food (treats, kibble etc.). The dog rolls it around and the food drops out. I showed our dog and after a few false starts of not really knowing what to do, he's well into it and pushes it around a lot now, even when it's empty! We got this one. I suppose you could put wet food in it, but that'd make a helluva mess and would be hard for the dog to get out and a nightmare to keep clean!

    Kongs are also a good idea as @JudyN says, although our dog struggles with this as he just licks at it mostly. I think a food dispensing toy is the way to go, but be prepared to put in a little bit of work until your dog understands how it all works ;) Good luck and please keep us updated.
     
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  4. Ruffle Snuffle

    Ruffle Snuffle New Member Registered

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    I design and make snuffle mats for dogs :) www.rufflesnuffle.com. If you'd like one, mention Dog Forum when you order and I'll pop in some of our super new biltong treats which really get dogs hunting and they smell amazing and are very tasty :)
     
  5. Beck19

    Beck19 New Member Registered

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  6. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I don't actually rate any of these very highly. Have a look at www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk

    It is an independent dog food comparison website which scores all types of foods (dry, raw, wet) on a scale of 0 to 5. You can set filters for your dog's weight, age etc and choose to view only the foods scoring, say, 4 and above. Then you can show them listed according to daily feeding cost so you can see what gives you best value for money.
     
  7. Ruffle Snuffle

    Ruffle Snuffle New Member Registered

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    Before changing I would investigate why he doesn't eat it.

    You can also compare the ingredients in dog foods on this website as you may find that they are more similar than you think. You'll also find that some people like Forthglade and Guru who make cold pressed food (without a lot of the allergens that upset dog's stomachs) will supply sample packs so you can see if he likes it before committing to it. Also Tails.com will custom make food if you know there are certain products you don't want the food to contain, like wheat, soy, dairy etc.

    Hope that helps :)
     
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  8. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Hill's Science isn't the best food. Have a look at the websites All About Dog Food.co.uk (for the UK) and Dog Food Reviews (for the US). You'll find ratings for lots of different brands there. Basically though, the best foods are those with a high percentage of meal (not meat meal), and low percentage of grain and other 'fillers' - ideally they should be grain free.
     
  9. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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  10. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    @JudyN - i think U meant to write, "a high percentage of MEAT"...? :) - not "meat meal", "poultry meal", "beef digest" "poultry byproduct", etc.

    So long as the dog isn't specifically allergic, there's no reason to avoid all grains - dogs digest starch & carbs quite nicely, but they do struggle to digest COMPLEX branching carbs [specifically soybean] & HIGH CELLULOSE carbs [specifically maize, AKA hard corn, flint corn, dent corn, etc].
    Maize usually appears in the form of corn meal / maize meal / ground maize / maize flour / cracked maize / corn flour / corn middlings / etc. Soy can be listed as soya, soy protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, etc.
    I skip soy & corn / maize 'cuz they mostly go thru dogs as they entered, unchanged - plus, both are common allergens [remember, allergens aren't instant - they generally need months or even years to develop, after the immune system has been *repeatedly* exposed... over & over & over].

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/01/diet-shaped-dog-domestication

    If meat is listed as #1 ingredient by volume, that's great - it should state the SPECIES & the FORM; i'd avoid 'poultry' or any vague byproduct anywhere in the list of ingredients, such as "meat digest". After that, potato, swt potato, oats, brown rice [not polished, with the bran included], etc, plus some greens or other minor additions, then vitamins, minerals, natural preservatives if any [vit-C or other antioxidants] to finish it off.
    Any colorings should be veg-juice or fruit extracts, such as carrot or beet or apple pomace, which add nutrients - not fake chemical colors.

    I like Honest Kitchen - all U-S made & sourced, no Chinese bulk ingredients [which killed thousands of dogs & cats in 2012, when pet-food was deliberately contaminated with MELAMINE to make it look higher in protein; "high nitrogen" = simplistic 'high protein' in nutritional analysis, but melamine is toxic, & causes kidney failure].
    Rehydrate the base mix, & add any protein U like. :)

    - terry

    .
     
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  11. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Oops, you're quote right, I certainly did:oops: Thanks for pointing that out:)
     
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  12. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    re "teaching" play, with such a small dog, i'd start with a flirt pole - a slightly-sturdier one than the cheap cr*ppy ones sold in grocery stores & discount pet-supplies, something he can actually not only CHASE, but grab & tug on.
    I'd treat him like a cat - dangle it, drag it jerkily, have it appear between objects that block his view of it so it darts across an open space & then "hides" behind something, visually, etc. Make the toy seem alive, hopping along not too high off the ground, seeming oblivious of the dog... :p , then he can POUNCE!

    Work up to playing tug - most dogs adore it, just pull gently at 1st while encouraging him verbally, with short, happy, excited words or phrases, or even noises - U can growl playfully, or "Rrruff!" at him softly, to get him excited.
    The more he gets into it, the more-firmly U can tug - but bear in mind his small teeth & jaw, i would not lift a Yorkie by pulling up on a tug-toy, even tho i do that with Rotts & Boxers & pibbles & other big dogs.
    Yorkies tend to have lousy teeth & sometimes resorb their jaws as they age, so getting a dental x-ray done when he's 7 to 9-YO to check for bone-loss in his mouth might be a good precaution; I'
    d ask yer vet now, so they are aware U are considering this as a future health-screen. ;)

    - terry

    .
     
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  13. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    Hi - well done for getting a rescue! It's the most dog-friendly thing in the universe. I've had three now and I'm still getting the hang of it. A few things I've learned are these. A rescue dog even more than others needs absolute security and stability. You say you feed once a day or sometimes twice. I'd feed twice if I were you and try to get it at the same time/ same place. Something to rely on helps damp down anxiety. My little corgi x eats at 9 am and 5 pm and out of his own bowl in the summer house where it's quiet and he's never disturbed. It was the first thing he reacted positively to. As for play, poor Ricky came to us after a tough disorganised life. Play requires trust. It took nearly a year before he'd play with us, although he would play with our other dog. Five years on he's a menace wanting to be chased, retrieve, wrestle, whatever. Because of his guarding issues we don't play tug, otherwise he's a happy chappy. You'll get there- just take it slow- slower than you'd expect.
     
  14. PineappleQueen

    PineappleQueen Member Registered

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    It takes time, i think get a core range of toys, something cuddly, something that squeaks, something to chase, something mental puzzle, various fabrics. Keep them out at all times if safe, if possible keep them in doggos area ie bed or crate.

    My rescue has been here almost 2 months now and had a toy from day one that he only just figured out last week. Dogs that didnt have a good life had to act a certain way to maintain their safety, its a big change, he has to let go of the thing that kept him safe for a long time. It will happen, you will need to encourage it, reward and praise and be careful not to get cross with other things. The first time they start to get it is magical, i promise
     
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