If you’re like me, you have purchased a whole bunch of chew toys for your dog to make sure it is happy and healthy.
But for some reason, it just can’t be bothered to run around with it or chew on it.
Or worse, it chews on YOUR stuff when you leave the house!
Here’s what I found: the reason my dog won’t play with toys anymore is because he’s either:
- so happy with you that it prefers to give you all the attention
- too stressed out about something in the environment to care
Let’s explore the first one of these in further detail.
My Dog Doesn’t Like to Play with Toys – because he LOVES ME
Yes it’s true, sometimes dogs actually prefer to go for walks with you or be active with other pets, and not sitting around staring at a doll. In this situation, I recommend a toy that allows you to be involved in the play as well, such as a tug-of-war rope or a ball. When he brings back the ball, give him a treat and he will begin to associate the toy with a good outcome.
BUT my dog doesn’t know how to play you may ask?
If this is the case, you need to get its mind off things and introduce a little more fun in its life. Don’t give your dog access to the toy at all time – instead try placing it on a shelf or table where it can be seen but not taken by your pet.
Next, build up some anticipation by talking excitedly to your dog about where it is as you go get it. Toss it back and forth in your hands and look like it is the coolest thing on earth.
Let your dog play with the toy for a few minutes, and then put it back before it gets bored. This way it will continue to be excited for you to bring it out again and act silly.
Another way to solve this is to use a toy like the Kong that allows you to put treats inside – this gives it a reason to show an interest in the toy all in the name of something he does know: FOOD!
That’s a little different in how to get a rescue dog to play with toys, because in this situation everything is completely new to it.
So let’s move on to the second reason why, and it’s particularly important if the matter is that a rescue dog won’t play.
My Dog Doesn’t Want to Play Anymore – cause it is STRESSED OUT
If a dog is worried about something like being home by itself, or dealing with some other issues, the last thing on its mind is that stuffed animal sitting in the dog toy box.
Many owners think that the first sign of stress is a dog not eating, but a keen owner will observe them not playing games first.
This is normal, and its common for dogs to even bite remotes or shoes to get a sense of being close to you when it is lonely.
Give your dog time to continue to get used to the environment – and get completely comfortable with you – and hopefully you will see some improvement in this area.
Additional Reading: It’s Not You It’s Me: If a Dog Won’t Play With You, It Could Be Your Fault
My Dog Hates Its Toys
Finally, sometime the simple solution is the best. If your dog stopped playing with toys, maybe it’s time to get a new one. Even if it has a huge pile, its in their nature to prefer new things.
Just like their owners prefer different sports and gadgets, sometimes they prefer different styles, shapes, and textures to play with. We have a great resource of highly rated options and at different price points that won’t break the bank.