I have a 4-month old lab puppy named Ruby. She's a good, smart dog, and tries hard to learn her training, but we have a problem...I think we bore each other! She was raised with a littermate until a few weeks ago, when my parents took the other puppy (I was just puppy-sitting until they could), so they entertained each other for a lot of the time. I don't think I took Ruby aside enough to show her that playing with me can be fun too! Now it's just the two of us, and I try to get her to play, but she's not really interested. When we're in the yard, she'll play for a few minutes, then wander off, or just look at me like, "Hmm, this is boring." She enjoys chasing the ball, but she's not so good at returning with it, so we're working on that (tossing it down the hallway and giving her yummy turkey she normally doesn't get as a treat when she returns it), and she's starting to catch on, and she'll play tug a little bit, but I know she misses playing with her sister. We go to puppy play at my dog training place, which she loves, and I'm looking for a puppy friend for play visits, but I wish our time together could be more fun! As she loses interest, I lose interest too, and I don't feel she gets enough fun time.
She goes on walks 3 times a day (at least a mile each) and seems to be getting enough exercise, including walks on the beach which she's nuts about, but she just doesn't seem much into me as a form of entertainment. I know she likes me, she's glad to see me when I return, but I feel like the biggest dope because I can't entertain my dog. Help! Does anyone have any suggestions?
how about learning fun tricks like high five, take a bow, find me, etc?
what kind of play did you have in mind?
taylor loves to play tug with humans or dogs. she just loves it.
luke is not so much into tug. he will play tug with dogs sometimes, but he really doesn't like to play with humans. we have to really get him excited and encourage him to pull when it's with us, but it's not a natural thing for him.
training itself should be kept upbeat, fun, and relatively short.
overly long training sessions where the dog loses interest or motivation becomes more like a punishment.
keep doing what you are doing for training retrieve. that's how i got luke to retrieve, and we both really enjoy the activity itself now. even without treats. i think taylor has natural drive and learned from watching luke. running after the ball and coming back for more has become a HUGE reward for both my dogs.
"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford
Ella don't feel bad. I have the same problem with my 18 month old. I just adopted her and we can't figure out how to play yet either. Try tricks. I got a book called "Fun things to do with your dog" from the library and another one about how to teach your dogs how to do tricks. Those might help you.
My dog loves to play soccer with me, or get a football and kick it around on the ground and see if she likes to do that. Mine grabs the laces and whips it around. She is a great goalie though. Finds it great fun to jump in the air and hit the ball with her head too.
Your dogs focus might not be that developed yet. When Allie was really young you loved chasing balls, but wouldnt return them. We had to teach that portion of fetch. Does your dog like water? Setup a sprinkler and run thru it or stray your dog. My dog loves to fight the water hose with me and run around and act crazy. I think you need to teach your dogs fun things to do that are playful. Your dog isnt bored, I think it could be a focus issue. Your dog thinks sniffing around is more fun than doing what your doing, keep up the habits, your dog will come around I think.
Thanks for the replies! She is young, and it probably is too much to expect that much focus. I've grown up with adult dogs, my family has had puppies but I was too young to remember, or not living at home, so this is all new! I'll try not to get discouraged, and look into some "play" books for ideas, and continue to be enthusiastic!
Lets not forget that not all dogs are play oriented. I've met plenty of dogs that couldn't care less about playing. Some dogs love it, some don't. Like absolutely everything it depends on the individual. The best thing you can do is find out what your dog is motivated by the most. Once you figure out what gets her motivated, harness that drive and build on it. If she shows some interest in retrieving that is a great start. Make it it interesting for her by setting up a number of retrieving scenarios. Use different toys --mine work best for bumpers/dummies. Hold her by the collar and toss some bumpers into long grass. Wait a minute and send her to hunt for them. I wouldn't worry about formal retrieving at this stage --I would concentrate on building the dogs drive. You could also try retrieving in water as most Labs are natural swimmers. I would also ditch the treats when training the retrieve. The retrieve in itself should be the reward.