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Old 05-24-2016, 01:43 AM   #1
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Default Tips to get dog to play on his own?

Hi all,
I'm new here and am hoping for some advice. My husband and I adopted our 7-year-old, black lab mix about a year ago. Then, he weighed 83 pounds. Now, he weighs 105 pounds. We were both shocked to realize how much weight he had gained, and we're eager to have him lose the excess weight and be healthier. We’ve cut down the amount of food and treats that we give him and stopped giving him table scraps. He gets a 30-minute walk in the morning before work and another after work. Sometimes another later in the evening, if we have time. We hired a dog walker to give him an additional 30-minute walk in the middle of the work day two days a week. An approximately 30-minute trip to the dog park happens at least once every weekend, sometimes twice. Additionally, we installed a dog door to allow him access to the backyard whenever he wants it. Unfortunately, he has no interest in playing fetch with any balls or sticks, and doesn't care about tug of war. We both work full time and are also in grad school, so we have limited time to exercise him in the evenings. Any ideas to get him to play and exercise on his own?

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Old 05-24-2016, 09:37 AM   #2
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Hi PennyB and welcome aboard to Df How many hrs are you both working each day? So glad you have realised that he needs to lose some weight The best way to get his weight down is to take him out more! do you live in the Uk? Do you know anthing about his past? You say he doesn't like toys how often have you tried with playing with him? You could try some stuffed squeaky toys he may like those but they will be destroyed in seconds Good luck and enjoy the forums
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:34 AM   #3
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He obviously loves food being a Lab. Maybe try feeding all his food with one of those toys that they have to work to get the food out of. There are several different types.

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Old 05-24-2016, 01:53 PM   #4
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Good advice above. What does he do when at the dog park? Does he run and play with the other dogs?
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:08 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum. Kyllobernese's idea of feeding him with the "stuffed" toys is a good idea. Have heard of a few people having some success with those balls that squeak and make noises when the dog bats it around. Don't remember what they are called, but when they were first advertised on tv they said they would keep dogs active and entertained when alone. I think you can buy them on Amazon. Also, I have to say congratulations on adopting an older dog...that is so great!
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:53 PM   #6
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Thanks all for the advice!

Bigboy: We live in the US in Seattle, WA. We both work 8-9 hours a day, though my husband leaves for work a couple of hours earlier than I do. He has class two nights a week, and I have class one night a week - not the same nights, to ensure that one of us will be home in the evening for Bailey. We don't know a lot about Bailey's past, but based on the paperwork that we received from the Humane Society, he lived with a family previously for about 5 years and then was surrendered due to allergies. The paperwork said that he was left alone for 12+ hours a day. The paperwork also said that he liked fetch, but when my husband or I throw a ball, he just stares at us. We have a couple of squeaky toys that he seemed interested in at first, but he ignores them now no matter how much we try to encourage him to play with them.

Kyllobernese: Thanks, that's a good idea. We'll have to try one of those. I'd previously heard of those being used for treats as a way to alleviate boredom for dogs, and had hesitated since we're trying to get him to lose weight. I hadn't thought of trying that with his food.

MrJohn: At the dog park he usually runs around and sniffs other dogs. He also mounts other dogs - we're constantly pulling him off. Very occasionally he will get into play mode with another dog, but it rarely lasts. We try to encourage it when he does.

Dunbar's Mom: Thanks! We knew that puppies were a lot of work, and that we just wouldn't have that kind of time. We've been thrilled with Bailey.

Have any of you ever been successful with teaching a dog to play? Maybe if we provide incentives when he shows any amount of interest in the ball, he would eventually enjoy playing fetch?

Thanks again!

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Old 05-26-2016, 04:51 AM   #7
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You are welcome PennyB Seriously that's a long time away from home but he is adult dog!! Do you know any ne you can trust to let him out for a pee/poop while you are both at work Cause he may need to go, but manages to hold it in till you get home? As for his past re playing it's possible that his previous owner(s) may have not been telling the whole truth to the rescue. It's been known to happen
And maybe his previous owner(s) discouraged him from playing .But that doesn't mean with plenty of encouragement he won't start playing But it won't happen over night it may take a lot of time and patience! So keep it short 10 mins a day and keep a mental note of any progress made Try many different types of toys even balls come in different shapes and sizes so bear this in mind!! have you tried a tennis ball yet? Or even try just to get him started with toilet rolls as in the cardboard sleeve!! Make it fun though.

As for the humping this needs to be discouraged as he may do this one time and the other dog could take offence and a fight could easily start So try and pratice at home first a good recall Prevention is far better than cure Good luck and let us know how you get on.
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Old 05-27-2016, 03:05 PM   #8
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8 hours is a long time away from home, but I think that's pretty normal for people who work full time. We have a dog walker who comes during the day twice a week, but we also have a dog door. He can use the dog door to go into our yard whenever he wants or needs, so he doesn't have to hold it in. We have a 6-foot fence around the whole yard, so he can't get out, and he has lookout spots to be able to see outside of the yard.

We absolutely discourage his mounting other dogs. As I said before, we pull him off from the other dogs as soon as we see it about to happen. His mounting has started fights before, but he's not the only dog that mounts other dogs. He also is mounted by other dogs sometimes.

We're working on getting him interested in playing with balls again. As soon as I have a chance, I'll buy one of those treat toys and try putting his food in it to see if that encourages him to play.

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Old 05-27-2016, 03:51 PM   #9
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You could try getting a good recall to distract him before he even starts the behaviour and entice him away with a tasty treat. If he hasn't got a good recall,practice this at home with little distractions first
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