“I’ve tried everything but my dog just doesn’t want to play – and it’s affecting our training… Help!”
Every dog has an instinctive play drive and with the right knowledge, trainers can tap into their urge to chase, grab, bite and ‘kill’ as a motivation to play.
But what if, no matter what you try, your dog just doesn’t seem to want to play? Sometimes owners then assume that their dog just doesn’t like or want to play – but that’s not usually the case. It’s not that your dog can’t play – it just that your dog has, for some reason, lost its ability to play in front of you.
The key to overcoming this is to get on the same level as your dog. Observe how they like to play with other dogs and try to mimic that. You don’t have to necessarily get on all fours and pretend to bark (though feel free if you’d like to!), but try to notice what behaviours encourage your dog to play.
And remember, play should always be fun for both you are your dog. Carrying on when you are feeling frustrated or pressured is never a good idea. Take frequent breaks and set yourself small goals.
About the Author: Danny Rouse is one of 4 directors of Tug-E-Nuff Dog Gear, a family business based in Exmouth that has gone from a small local firm to an internationally recognised brand in the dog sport market. His role focuses on customer satisfaction and driving the business forward. In his spare time he enjoys long walks with his dog Horatio and loves sampling good food out and about in Devon. Danny and Horatio also train regularly at East Bowerland Farm with Devon Dogs.