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Anonymous:I rescued a dog a week back. A vet said he's approx 4 years old and he's very well behaved. The only problem is that he doesn't seem to know how to play. I have plenty of toys here, balls of all sorts, bones, rope things and more but he ignores them all. He won't fetch or chase balls, and he doesn't pay attention to noisy toys. He just sniffed them a few times and that's it.
Is there anything I can do to teach an adult dog to play?
A week is too short a time for a dog to get used to a new home, especially if he has never known human love, care, and safety before. He needs to believe it won't go away. Rescue dogs are often a little aloof in the beginning. Take him with patience. Don't force him to play if he's obviously not inclined to do it right away. He needs time to learn to trust you. Would you play with someone you don't trust? Don't get frustrated if he doesn't accept your invitations for a game because he'll feel your inner energy, and frustration energy is not something that will help him recover from whatever mental and physical experience he had in the past (I assume it wasn't a good past).
Keep socializing him around other well-behaved (!) dogs and people so he learns that being around them is a positive thing. If he sees other dogs playing happily, he's very likely to pick up the behavior sooner or later. Don't forget to praise him well and give him a treat when he makes his first steps learning to play.
It may also happen that he never learns to play like dogs who were raised in human love and attention. Don't get upset about it, that's just a part of his nature. Just keep loving him and doing your best for him.
People are waiting to help.
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