So, your dog has no interest in toys…bummer. But keeping him in a crate or leashed up all day does not solve it. Instead, here is how to entertain a dog that doesn’t like toys.
If your dog has no interest in toys, maybe he feels too grown up for squeaky toys. Try doing mature stuff like taking evening strolls or going to the park together. Some dogs thrive better when they play outside where they can meet people, places, and other dogs.
It can be such a turn off if you spent your hard-earned cash on a pet toy only for your pup to act disinterested. Rather than punish the furball for what looks like ingratitude, you could instead find out other things that can interest him. And we have plenty of ideas you can try.
Maybe your dog first got interested in the toy before he stopped. Or perhaps you keep buying new toys and your pup won’t play with any of them. If you find yourself in this time of situation, the reason could be that your dog does not feel stimulated enough.
Understanding canine brain stimulation
A dog’s mind is like a human. When your pup feels bored, he is likely to show disinterest in anything else, including his toys. He might choose to sleep all day or find other ways to challenge his brain. And often the alternatives he seeks are destructive ones.
Bored dogs develop destructive behaviors and take their negative energy out on things like furniture
-Cesar Millan, cesarsway.com
When your pup discards toys but develops a penchant for gnawing on your antique walnut desk, then you know the problem is not the toy.
How then do you get your dog to play with the toys he does not want? A good place to start is offering the dog more mental stimulation. You can do so in the following steps;
Do more outdoor stuff
Incorporate toys into fun activities
Take your dog out more
Maybe your dog refuses to play with toys because the environment he is in does not excite him. For something new, pick a day and take your dog outside. It could be an evening stroll or an afternoon at the park.
Getting your dog outside helps with socializing him. He can meet new people, pets, places, and scents. Dogs use their sense of smell to interpret the world and the park is a good place to get them exploring.
Now that your dog is excited about playing in a different environment, this is the best time to re-introduce the toy. If he did not want to get the frisbee while indoors, try playing fetch with him at the park.
In that state of excitement, a dog’s mind is relaxed and more receptive. This is also the best time to train them and teach them the benefits of their toys. Whenever your pup sees the toy, he associates it with something good like playing in the park.
There will be times when you want your dog to play indoors. If he still refuses to play with his toy, use the same trick of making the toy represent something good like a reward. And we have the perfect ideas on that;
Make a mini-scavenger hunt game at home. Hide the toy and let your dog scavenge the whole house until they find it. When he finds the treasure, reward him with a treat. Now he knows that playing with the toy will earn him an enjoyable experience like a treat.
Hide treats inside the toy. There are toy balls that are in the form of a maze that you can hide treats in. Conceal a treat in there and let your dog work out the puzzle. This should keep him busy indoors with the toy.
Incorporate toys into human activities you enjoy with your dog. If you go out camping, let the dog play with a tennis ball or chew toy while you set the tents. Or give the dog something to chase after as you hike through the woods together.
VIDEO: Toys and Puzzles To Keep Your Dog Busy
What if your dog does not like toys anymore?
If your dog previously loved toys and stopped playing with them, it could be a sign of illness. Medical conditions like tooth ache, arthritis, hip dysplasia, or arthritis could affect a dog’s daily activities. The pain and suffering from these conditions hinders the dog from playing with toys or engaging in important activities like eating.
Take your dog for a checkup if he suddenly stops playing with his toys. You want to rule out any disease or sudden condition that is causing the sudden change of mind.
Some dogs take time to warm up to toys as well. Be patient and continue introducing the toys until they gradually grow into liking them.
If your dog doesn’t like toys, find other fun activities to engage him in. Introduce toys in a different setting- when playing with him or when outside- to see if he changes his mind. Also, there are plenty of cool human activities that you can enjoy with your dog.
Some dogs sleep all day as they await their owners to come back. If you leave the curtains open, your pup wouldn’t mind watching the outside world at the comfort of his home. Interestingly, your dog could also camp by your bed or laundry because the smell of you comforts them. But ensure your pet does not suffer separation anxiety while you are gone.
If your dog loves toys, then leave him with plenty to keep him busy while you are gone. Some dogs won’t mind you leaving the TV on, with their favorite show, or the radio playing soothing music. For a first-time pet parent, a crate would be ideal to control your dog’s movement in the home while you are away. A pet sitter would be ideal too if it is within your budget.
Go out for walks with him. Find a good dog treat recipe you can cook together in the living room. Some dogs don’t mind laying on your legs as a pastime. Taking the time to understand your dog’s needs will help you find out what they like for entertainment.
Your dog is refusing to play with toys out of boredom. Also, dogs would reject their toys if they have no one to share them with during playtime. An adopted dog would reject toys if they never had any or they have horrible past experiences with toys.