View Full Version : doesn' know how to play

Xochitl's Mom
08-12-2000, 08:25 PM
We adopted Xochitl-dog from the county shelter when she was about 4 (Vet's best guess) We know she'd been pretty badly abused - afraid of feet, sticks, noises, throwing things, dogs, people, cats...

We've had her for a year and a half now and she's significantly less fearful, but not fully re-socialized. One thing I notice is she doesn't know how to play at all...not with dogs or toys.

She shies from dogs that try to play (or me on all fours trying to imitate a play bow) and she cowers when you throw a chewy or ball then looks at you like "why'd you do that!?"

Any suggestions on how to teach her to play?


08-14-2000, 04:45 PM
I've re-trained retired greyhound racers for family life for a few years. Some dogs just don't like to play, especially if they'd been abused. One thing to try is to take something fillable, like a Kong, and put small kibbles into it. This will encourage the dog to at least have some interest. You can also try tossing the Kong and seeing if they'll go get it. Another trick is to but peanut butter on the outside of a hard toy and play with it outside (sure can make a mess). Some dogs love to "kill" the squeeker inside a plush toy and will start playing that way, especially if you make it squeek. Lots of praise when playing is VERY important. This is a very long process and the dog may not ever play. Keep in mind, a dog abused into submission will rarely rough house with the human. My greyhound rarely plays and when he does it's just for very short periods of time. Good luck, but love the dog whether it plays or not. There's got to be other joys it gives you.

08-14-2000, 05:08 PM
Is this the same Xochitl who was Dog of the Day last July? See http://DogoftheDay.com/archive/1999/July/03.html . Sometimes I have heard of dogs learning to play from another, often younger dog. Does Xochitl have any puppy friends who might teach her? If it is the same Xochitl, she's such a beauty that I cannot imagine anyone abusing her, but I do hope you stick with it - I bet she'll catch on and surprise you some day!

08-14-2000, 07:16 PM
I saw Xochitl on Dog f the Day. She is a beautiful dog http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif. Do you know anyone who has a puppy? A puppy could teach her tp play. Because you know how puppies are, they try and try and try unitl eventually get what they want. I hope I have helped.

http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gifRACHEL http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

Xochitl's Mom
08-17-2000, 09:59 PM
Why YES that is my Xochitl! :-D Isn't she sweet! (That's still the only photo we have with her head in the shot.)
Actually a puppy might work...she's ok with another dog one on one...if she had one special dog-buddy she might get over things. I'll look around.
I tried to kong+food toy but she was afraid of it. ;-7 That was a year ago...maybe worth another try.
Frankly, if she never plays or gets anymore socialized, I don't care. She's a GREAT!!!dog, but I'll keep trying baby steps.
Thanks for all your suggestions!
:-) Bettina

08-18-2000, 08:03 AM
I have an Aussie that we rescued from near death. She had been horribly abused and did not know how to play either. We do have another dog, and it was a long process, but my border collie was eventually able to draw her out. Have you tried any tug toys, like the knotted ropes? At first our Aussie was scared of them, but now she loves them, not to mention tennis balls. Some things they never get over (like loud noises), but just keep giving her lots of love.

Good luck (and bless you for adopting her!)