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I just adopted Magnus, a young adult GSD (vet thinks probably about 2 years, shelter says 3) from the shelter. He was a stray pick up.

He has a very good personality is learning to walk and run on the leash with me very well, and seems to enjoy that. He also seems to enjoy being scratched and petted.

So he does enjoy things - but he doesn't seem to know how to play? He doesn't chase balls or frisbees, he won't grab a tug toy.

I've never gotten a dog as a adult before, and it's always been easy encouraging puppies to play (Gabe, my previous dog, was nuts about fetch and frisbees).

He also doesn't seem very food motivated, so I haven't been able to use treats to interest him in toys.

Is there a good way to teach him how to play with me?
 

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I take it the vet ruled out any medical reason for Magus' lack of interest? Alrighty then,

For a start when he's actively interested in any chew toy, bone etc I'd take it away and toss it for a reaction. Also you may have bribe him with a peanut butter filled Kong toy.

If all else fails just learn to enjoy your chilled out buddy.
 

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I take it the vet ruled out any medical reason for Magus' lack of interest?
The vet says that aside from being underweight, he seems to be in very good shape. (We're working on that - I've got him up 2 pounds since bringing him home)

Thanks. I'll see if I can get a chew he's interested in enough to try that.
 

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I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of a little book from Pat Miller called Play with Your Dog (Dogwise, 2008). The book has a whole chapter called "Rehabilitating the Play-Deprived Dog" with lots of suggested games to engage.
https://www.amazon.com/Play-Your-Dogwise-Training-Manual/dp/1929242557


FWIW, I've had several fosters who learned to play because my own dogs taught them. If you have friends with stable, gentle dogs, they might be able to help. There are things that sometimes dogs are better at teaching than humans are -- balls and stuffed toys become really interesting when other dogs are having a blast with them!
 
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