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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
We adopted a 1 yr old GSD from Carissima Kennels last week. He is great so far. My kids were excited to be able to (eventually) play ball with him etc... However, he does not seem to have any idea how to play? He spent his 1st year of life with the breeder and he was kept with the other dogs. They were going to keep him for shows but decided that we could adopt him. I don't think he ever had the opportunity to play ball or with a Kong or anything like that. He has some training and seems to be very smart:)
Any tips on showing him how to play with a ball or something? We roll the ball around him and he just looks at us like "what are you people doing?"
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thx
 

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Give it time... I brought my 1st GSD home from the breeder and every day for 2 weeks we came home to a pile of **** in the house.

It did not matter if we were gone for 15 minutes he would leave us a gift. On our 1st walk we approached a fire hydrant and he just started barking at it because of the smells I am sure and because he had never seen one before.

My choice of toy would be a squeaky soft fuzzy thing on a rope that you can snap away from him which will get him to chase it. Mine was attached to a pole.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Give it time... I brought my 1st GSD home from the breeder and every day for 2 weeks we came home to a pile of **** in the house.

It did not matter if we were gone for 15 minutes he would leave us a gift. On our 1st walk we approached a fire hydrant and he just started barking at it because of the smells I am sure and because he had never seen one before.

My choice of toy would be a squeaky soft fuzzy thing on a rope that you can snap away from him which will get him to chase it. Mine was attached to a pole.
Thanks Malibu. I will make another trip to PetSmart today to find something. He likes to play tug of war with my dish towels. I don't want to encourage playing with my dish towels though lol
 

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Be careful with tug of war . I don't do it until I know what my dog is all about because I feel it encourages biting and being aggressive and their is a time and a place for that. I don't think you are there yet.
 

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Be careful with tug of war . I don't do it until I know what my dog is all about because I feel it encourages biting and being aggressive and their is a time and a place for that. I don't think you are there yet.
Thank you very much Malibu. You are right, we are not there yet. No tug of war with anything.
 

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Congratulations on the newest addition to the family!

Maybe he did spent his first year of life there without toys, that would explain why he's acting this way. I think you should ask the breeder how was his life, if he was well socialized, etc. Make sure he doesn't have any food aggression, or resource guarding. If he never had any toys before, he certainly can be jealous of the ones he will have now. Make sure to do the right introduction as you don't want to have a possessive dog I'm sure.

I think a flavored chew toy for him would be good, I've heard Nylabone is good as long as the dog's not a heavy chewer.

Regarding the ball maybe you could try to play fetch with him? Throw the ball and grab it yourself a few times, maybe he will get interested? And if/when he's playing along you can reward him with a treat (if he's food motivated).

Good luck :)
 

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Same thing with my pup (though I brought him home early) he didn't know how to play. I remember the 1st time I threw a ball and he literally just looked at the ball and then looked at me like 'Ok, what was that, mum?' Lol. It takes time for them to get it! But remember GSDs are ridiculously smart. My boy has been retrieving balls at 9-10 weeks of age. All I did was praise like a crazy person everytime he brought back the ball.

Now tug o' war. I respectfully disagree with Malibu. Tug o' war doesn't encourage aggressive behaviour, especially if he's taught from the beginning that the rope belongs to the top dog. I've taught my dog 'Let go' since day 1. I NEVER let him win (in the course of 14 months I've had him I probably let him win like 5 times when he was tiny). Everytimes he lets go, he has to sit down, and then I wait for his mouth and face expression to relax, and then I ALWAYS praise. That's how he learnt that yes, I will engage in a tug o' war if you behave, and you will get: playing time and extra affection from me. He also plays tug o' war with my 4 year-old nephew. I always stand behind my nephew so my dog can still look at me, and everytime he doesn't listen to my nephew 'Let go' I make a sound with my fingers to get his eye contact, shake my head and then he lets go. It's really good training tool to establish who's in control, in my opinion. But ONLY in a controlled environment! If tug o' warring at a dog park or daycare, that's a whole other doggo stuff.

Try and engage your boy in puzzle toys too. They love it.
 

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Same thing with my pup (though I brought him home early) he didn't know how to play. I remember the 1st time I threw a ball and he literally just looked at the ball and then looked at me like 'Ok, what was that, mum?' Lol. It takes time for them to get it! But remember GSDs are ridiculously smart. My boy has been retrieving balls at 9-10 weeks of age. All I did was praise like a crazy person everytime he brought back the ball.

Now tug o' war. I respectfully disagree with Malibu. Tug o' war doesn't encourage aggressive behaviour, especially if he's taught from the beginning that the rope belongs to the top dog. I've taught my dog 'Let go' since day 1. I NEVER let him win (in the course of 14 months I've had him I probably let him win like 5 times when he was tiny). Everytimes he lets go, he has to sit down, and then I wait for his mouth and face expression to relax, and then I ALWAYS praise. That's how he learnt that yes, I will engage in a tug o' war if you behave, and you will get: playing time and extra affection from me. He also plays tug o' war with my 4 year-old nephew. I always stand behind my nephew so my dog can still look at me, and everytime he doesn't listen to my nephew 'Let go' I make a sound with my fingers to get his eye contact, shake my head and then he lets go. It's really good training tool to establish who's in control, in my opinion. But ONLY in a controlled environment! If tug o' warring at a dog park or daycare, that's a whole other doggo stuff.

Try and engage your boy in puzzle toys too. They love it.
Thank you McGloomy. I hadn't thought about it that way but I will try playing Tug o war your way and see how it goes. I need to go out and buy a rope or something similar at Petsmart tomorrow.
 

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I am middle road on tug... I want my puppy to win but no aggressive possession is accepted.. Play growl while tugging with a puppy is expected as they are learning how sounds correlate and work.. At the same time, I also want manners and snatching, or other obvious overt attempts at dominance are squelched quickly and redirected to something else.. Tug does not (have to) bring aggression.. Each dog of course is different, and what is good for one may not be good for another..

A flirt pole though might get his prey drive up which will bring out the play drive hopefully for ball as he relaxed into his new routine.. Pics would be lovely
 

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Be careful with tug of war . I don't do it until I know what my dog is all about because I feel it encourages biting and being aggressive and their is a time and a place for that. I don't think you are there yet.

That made me laugh. We have a Carissima dog at our club, and the first thing the owner does before taking him out on the field is to play tug with him to get him excited and encourage him to focus.

Same thing when a new puppy comes to the club: the trainer tests his drive with a tug or flirt pole. It does NOT encourage aggression, but stimulates the prey/play drive which is then used to teach obedience and protection.

Allowing the dog to win at tug also increases its confidence, and it sounds like your boy could use a boost in that department!
 

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I felt the same way too sunsilver, but then thought about a 1yr old GSD coming into a nervous owner.. Dog might take advantage of a worried handler.. Although I would still say it is doubtful, but I can see where someone who has not handled working bred dogs before might see it as aggression... Me? I play tug with my pup all the time (my other two prefer to do nose work, although my boy likes tug sometimes) but her play growls and shakes don't intimidate me, I smile..
 

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Hi!
My dog also did not know how to play "fetch" but he is pretty enthusiastic now. I changed from a tennis ball to a ball that squeaks. I hide it behind my back and squeak it, then wave it around in the air squeaking it, and then I throw it. He loves to run for it then! When he had the ball in his mouth and was coming towards me, I jumped up and down and clapped my hands and made happy noises. So eventually he got the idea and he now brings it back and drops it in my vicinity.

The other thing I did, to train a "get something and run back" habit, was I would throw a tidbit of food. While he was nosing in the grass, I walk away. Then I call him to me...he comes running and gets a second tidbit.

One of his favorite games is "I chase You, You chase me" which is a game that dogs also play. He might like that one! Our dog happily plays that in fenced yard with us. We run away, he chases us. Then he falls onto ground ("you got me!")...then HE runs away, and we chase him. It's a pretty simple mindless game...

Then there's "stuffed animal on a string" (much like flirtpole). You make it act like a prey animal, scurrying away or leaping in the air, and he is impressively fast about catching it.

And "hide and seek" (hide and let him look for you).

Well, those are the ways we play with our dog! And, of course, we enjoy hiking / walking/ running with him. (Although today I was out for an hour in cold rain...ugh. Only one of us enjoyed it...the one with fur.)
 

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The most important thing to do is not worry about your dog not playing. The family who has a littermate of my gal-dog also adopted a retired breeding mom. She was 7 and although a good dog, hadn't spent much time playing for awhile. The old gal was not sure of the house rules and was on her best laid back behavior. In the mean time the rascally little pup was having a good ol' time with the kids. Over time they took the dogs for walks, let them run free in the yard, exposed the old gal to balls and various tugs (some like balls on ropes, some soft tugs, some linen tugs...dogs have preferences). Eventually the old gal tried a little play. I remember how excited they were when their retired mom dog played ball for a bit! It should come, especially if you get excited about the prospect of playing with her.
 

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You have to find a game they like. Just enjoy her and that will come naturally. Max loves the ball catches like yogi Berra. He will catch a frozen blueberry across a dimly lit room and not miss! Luna does not like playing catch- a ball will bounce off her face she will only catch if she wants to! She likes to play tug though that’s her game. She also loves to play hide n seek.
 

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Hi everyone,
We adopted a 1 yr old GSD from Carissima Kennels last week. He is great so far. My kids were excited to be able to (eventually) play ball with him etc... However, he does not seem to have any idea how to play? He spent his 1st year of life with the breeder and he was kept with the other dogs. They were going to keep him for shows but decided that we could adopt him. I don't think he ever had the opportunity to play ball or with a Kong or anything like that. He has some training and seems to be very smart:)
Any tips on showing him how to play with a ball or something? We roll the ball around him and he just looks at us like "what are you people doing?"
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thx
He's probably a little inhibited. I would just try to free him up a little without trying to be specific with the toy or game. See what you can do with some food. Just dropping it here and there on the ground, see how much excitement you can get with him looking for it. Have some in your hands, see how much energy he'll put into following your hand for it while you back away from him. Drop a piece here and there and encourage him to come towards you for more after he gets the dropped piece, then see if you can progress that to tossing a piece here and there for him to kinda "chase", then come back towards you again. Don't stand still, move around, turn away from him. See what you get with some of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Be careful with tug of war . I don't do it until I know what my dog is all about because I feel it encourages biting and being aggressive and their is a time and a place for that. I don't think you are there yet.

That made me laugh. We have a Carissima dog at our club, and the first thing the owner does before taking him out on the field is to play tug with him to get him excited and encourage him to focus.

Same thing when a new puppy comes to the club: the trainer tests his drive with a tug or flirt pole. It does NOT encourage aggression, but stimulates the prey/play drive which is then used to teach obedience and protection.

Allowing the dog to win at tug also increases its confidence, and it sounds like your boy could use a boost in that department!
I tried it last night with Griffin and he loves to play tug o`war. I did it once the kids we're in bed because I'm not ready to let them try with him yet because he is so much bigger than they are. He would tug and when I let him win, he would bring it back to me. We did this a few times and then he lied down to chew on it. I took it again and he didn't seem to mind at all. I will have to ask Rob from Carissima if he played tug with Griffin because he seemed to really like the game.
 

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Hi!
My dog also did not know how to play "fetch" but he is pretty enthusiastic now. I changed from a tennis ball to a ball that squeaks. I hide it behind my back and squeak it, then wave it around in the air squeaking it, and then I throw it. He loves to run for it then! When he had the ball in his mouth and was coming towards me, I jumped up and down and clapped my hands and made happy noises. So eventually he got the idea and he now brings it back and drops it in my vicinity.

The other thing I did, to train a "get something and run back" habit, was I would throw a tidbit of food. While he was nosing in the grass, I walk away. Then I call him to me...he comes running and gets a second tidbit.

One of his favorite games is "I chase You, You chase me" which is a game that dogs also play. He might like that one! Our dog happily plays that in fenced yard with us. We run away, he chases us. Then he falls onto ground ("you got me!")...then HE runs away, and we chase him. It's a pretty simple mindless game...

Then there's "stuffed animal on a string" (much like flirtpole). You make it act like a prey animal, scurrying away or leaping in the air, and he is impressively fast about catching it.

And "hide and seek" (hide and let him look for you).

Well, those are the ways we play with our dog! And, of course, we enjoy hiking / walking/ running with him. (Although today I was out for an hour in cold rain...ugh. Only one of us enjoyed it...the one with fur.)
We played you run and chase me in the snow last night for about 20 mins and he really liked it. Then I would also hide and he would find me behind a tree or something. He liked that too. I guess it might just take a bit of time for the ball but that's ok. He has only been with us a week today.
 
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