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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

My Dog Doesn't Play

by Debbie
(Burlington, NC)

My dog doesn't know how to play. I'm the fourth person to own her. She's about 7 years old, so not sure if this can be remedied.

I can only get physically close to her when she goes to bed with us. I'm really at a loss to know how to help her. I've read all the info on Aussies 10X or more. Help?

Comments for My Dog Doesn't Play

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Not playing
by: Anonymous

If she has been rehomed four times, I wonder if she has just lost trust in people? You don’t say how long you have had her, but it may just take time, lots of positive but limited experiences, cheerful voice, etc. Aussies read body language very well, so calm and relaxed will work best.

by: jcrply

If you could give a little more information it might be helpful:
How long have you had her?
Has she had a vet checkup to see if she's in good health?
You said you are only close to her at bedtime? Does she let you touch her at all during the day? Pet her? Scratch her chest for example?
Do you brush her, trim her claws, etc...?
Is she food motivated?
Will she take food from your hand?

If she is food motivated, and in good health, you might be able to start some simple play activity by using food as a reward. Learning something (most anything) is, in itself, stimulating for an Aussie. If she hasn't been taught any commands, you could start with something simple like "sit". Make the reward a really valuable one, such as a tiny bit of bacon perhaps... something she doesn't ordinarily get. This may not sound like "playing", but you may find she enjoys it, and it could be a first step.

Thank you for caring about her.

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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

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