What to Do If Your Rescue Dog Won’t Play with Toys
Are you concerned that your rescue dog won’t play with toys? Even if they’ve started to become more comfortable around you, they may still be timid when it comes to playing.
It’s important to remain gentle and patient if your rescue dog won’t play with toys, as there could be many reasons behind this. Every dog has a playful side and with plenty of love and perseverance, you should see your rescue pup starting to play.
Rescue dogs will always have a special place in our hearts. For many of them, their backgrounds can be unclear, so whilst you’re trying to learn more about their behaviours, they’re adjusting to their new life.
Read on to discover more about why your rescue dog won’t play with toys, what may be causing this and our top tips on encouraging your pup to play.
The Importance of Play
Why is play so important for dogs? Playtime can have many positive effects on your pup, it offers them a form of physical exercise, in addition to walking, which will support them in keeping fit and healthy.
If you notice your rescue dog enjoys walks, why not bring a dog toy along with you on your next walk to try and encourage them to play? Don’t forget to check out our helpful guide on what to take on a dog walk to ensure you’re always prepared for walkies with your pup!
Playing with your rescue dog is also great for mental stimulation as it engages their mind, whilst allowing them to focus on the game. If you dedicate some time each day to teach your rescue dog how to play, this will allow you to strengthen the bond you share, whilst showing them who’s in charge.
If your rescue dog is still shy around their other furry friends, then playing is a great way to teach them about social interaction. When they display good behaviour, offer them a tasty dog treat as positive reinforcement.
Why Won’t My Rescue Dog Play?
There could be several reasons why your rescue dog won’t play with toys. They could possibly be experiencing past trauma which they associate with playing.
Rather than associating playtime with fun and happiness, they might see it as scary and upsetting. If this is the case, it’s no wonder they want to avoid playing.
Having a gentle and calming approach to play may allow you to overcome this over time. Try to introduce a variety of dog toys for your pup to choose from so they can find their favourite.
Your rescue dog may not always be interested in playing, so ensure your pup knows where they can go when they want to relax. Give them their own space with a snuggly blanket and a soft cushion for them to put their paws up after a busy day.
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Motivate Your Pup with Food
If you’ve noticed your rescue dog is food motivated, why not try a toothy treat dog toy? It’s the perfect way to combine a toy with treats! This boredom buster is an ideal way to keep your pup entertained as it’s interactive and can be filled with their favourite treats!
Finding the Pawfect Dog Toy for Your Rescue
On the other hand, if you sense your pup has never been taught how to play you could choose a dumbbell dog toy – an excellent choice for teaching them how to play fetch.
If your rescue pup responds well to toys without squeakers, then an eight-shaped tugger dog toy is a great way for them to enjoy a game of tug of war with you. Whilst it doesn’t feature any squeaky sounds, it’s guaranteed to bring out your pup’s competitive side!
Squeaky dog toys are ideal if your rescue pup is more prey orientated, how about a zombie foot dog toy? Featuring both a tug-rope for them to chew and a hidden squeaker (that’s bound to make you jump), it’s a perfect choice!
If you’re concerned that your rescue dog is scared of squeaky toys then make sure to check out our blog post to find out why and what you can do to ease your pup’s fear.
My Rescue Dog Still Doesn’t Want to Play: Understanding How to Overcome This
There are many other reasons that your rescue may be resisting playtime. They could be still adjusting to their new environment and be experiencing stress. Ensure they have a comfortable space like a cosy bed that they can relax in to reduce their discomfort.
Over time, you will learn to get a better understanding of your dog’s behaviours. You will notice when they’re hungry and need a treat, when they’re ready to play or when they simply want snuggles. It’s important you allow your rescue dog time to show you what type of play they enjoy the most.
If you’re concerned there could be a more serious underlying issue such as an illness that is preventing your dog from joining in play, then always consult professional veterinary advice as soon as possible.
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