On the rare occasion that a puppy is not interested in toys or playing games with you, there are some easy things that you can do to build up the dog’s desire to want to play and be interested in toys.
- First be sure that the toys you have are not all over the ground in the house. Pick everything up except for a chew toy or bone.
- Take a short lightweight rope or a leash and secure it to a stuffed animal or soft toy that the puppy can play with.
- Keep this toy in a drawer or a cupboard and over the course of an hour go to the place where you have hidden the toy numerous times. Make sure the puppy is watching and is close by.
- Take the toy out and talk “baby talk” to it, talk in an excited voice, build up the pup’s curiosity, ignore your puppy while you are having fun playing with the toy without him.
- After a few visits to the hidden toy, start to throw it up in the air, swing it around with the rope that you have secured to it, squeal with delight. Remember to keep ignoring your puppy.
- Once your puppy starts to seem really interested in the forbidden toy, you are starting to get somewhere.
- Keep this up, for a couple of days if you need to. When the puppy is excited about the toy that you are playing with, let the toy come just within reach of the pup and then take it away with the rope and drag it along the ground or swing it up in the air.
- Do a few sessions like this within an hour.
- In the next step, the pup is actually going to be allowed to put his mouth on the toy, but only for a second. Remember to do this in baby steps. How long this process takes depends on the puppy and how well you are captivating his interest in the forbidden toy.
- Little by little, start to let the pup play with the toy for longer periods of time: remember that for a puppy who was not originally interested in the toy, ten seconds can be too long.
- Gradually the time will increase and we will have a pup interested in toys and playing with us.
Most puppies readily play with toys and with us. If you are having problems with this and the above mentioned exercise does not help, you should examine your situation. Does the pup have too much free time? Are the toys all over floor? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself.