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We just rescued Annie last week. She's a beautiful Black and Tan about 7.5 - 8 yrs old. Her last family was VERY sedentary. Ours however, is exactly the opposite. We have large backyard and I've taken her out there and ran around alot this last week. She LOVES it! My daughter bought a Kong toy for her but she has no idea about playing with any toys. Yes, I said she does NOT play with any toys. She looks at me like I'm crazy when I try to give her a toy. Is there anything I can do? This is the first time I've tried to train an adult dog and I'm lost. I just think adding a ball or something will help her get back into the trim and fit beautiful puppy she is.
 

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Some dogs just don't play with toys. Annie may never had toys to play with, or she may never had the desire to play with toys.

My first dog, a spaniel/retriever mix, never played with toys. He would fetch for hours, and loved to chew on sticks and rawhides, but never played with toys on his own. My present dog loves to play, which surprises me as I think she was tied and neglected for the major part of her first year of life. Often, dogs who did not have an opportunity to develop normal play behaviour at an early age never get into toys.

At Annie's age, I don't think she will change and become toy driven, but it won't hurt any to keep trying and encourage her. She may be more prey driven. If you have a ball or a Kong on a rope and wriggle it around on the ground and run around with it, does she show interest? Would she play tug? An excellent game to build their interest in playing with you.

You can also try those treat balls, where you put a treat into it and she has to work at getting it out. Might get her started into interacting with objects. If she is food driven, you could use small bits or food rewards to get her active. If you can get her running to you from across the yard for a bit of a food reward, you can build on that to encourage other activities that will get her moving.

Also, you have only had her for a week. She might take a couple of months to settle into your family and relax enough to show her true personality. At this stage, she is still adjusting and trying to process all the changes in her life, so give her time.

Thank you so much for rescuing! Annie is blessed to have a caring person like yourself in her life. Lots of walks and fun, rewarding activities will go a long way into into getting her back into shape. Once she is slimmed down and active, she may start showing more interestest in toys, but if not, that is just who she is.
 

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I've had two dogs that wouldn't play fetch. I adopted them both as an adults and both just didn't "get" toys. But Dh and I could stand at opposite ends of the yard (or field) and call her back and forth. And they was THRILLED to run into our arms each time for love and attention. Yes, it takes two people. But they got lots of exercise that way.

Zamboni, my senior, can't play fetch anymore because my 2 y/o GSD is grabby and snags the ball or toy. But she'll run with me across the yard, so we jog back and forth and around the house.. She loves to chase me. Or, I'll work with her on simple "Wait" commands, putting her at one end of the yard or field, then jogging to the other end and telling her to "Come." It's even better when I get my young dog involved (I put them both in a Wait and call them both at the same time) because it reinforces his training; and since he runs so fast, she challenges herself to run faster than she does when she just jogs with me. She's competitive and she's actually *racing* him even though he's bigger and 13 years younger than her.

I do think that older dogs can learn almost anything with the right training techniques and patience. But I've never been able to get a dog that never learned how to play with toys learn how to play with them. But there are lots of other ways to play with our dogs. And some of them get US moving around a lot more too.


Which is always a good thing
 
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