Thursday, 23 February 2012

Help! My dog won't play!

I've come across more and more people who tell me that their dog will not play. Just not interested in toys, rough and tumble, retrieving balls or any kind of fun games. Well until we re-homed this Labrador bundle of fun, I too had a dog that was not interested in play.

Play is an activity or skill which needs to be learnt. It does not come naturally to all dogs and if this dog has missed out on a good early start in life, or with owners that didn't have the time to play then it may never learn. But it is never too late to start! You can teach an old dog new tricks! In fact, an old dog is more capable of learning new tricks because he has had a lifetime of learning what the rules of the game are!

So the rules of the game are; If I do something that my owner wants me to do, I get a treat! By getting a treat, little amounts of happy chemicals are released into the dog's brain. Hey, let's do that again and I might get another treat! You must also be prepared to make a bit of an idiot of yourself, by squealing and yipping and looking as if you are having a great time yourself! Keep the individual training sessions down to no more than 5 minutes each. As with my last dog Buddy, he was 10 years old before he learned to play, it took almost a year to do, but we made it!

Humans must be prepared to get down and dirty on the carpet, roll on the floor and make stupid noises! You must let go of all your inhibitions for your dog's sake! Remember, playing is a skill which needs to be learned.