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We recently adopted a 3 yr old male German shepherd mix. He's seems to be adjusting well to us and our environment. He walks very well on a leash. He's a very docile laid back very kind hearted boy. But if he see's a rabbit ...look out. If not on his long rope, he takes off like lightening.
The things that shocks and concerns us most about him right now is he does not have any idea at all about playing or fetching balls, sticks or anything. Obviously he has never done this. How sad. But, we would really appreciate any input to teach him simple things like fetching a balll or stick. Or even to play with our little dog who has tried to get him to play and romp with her. We thank you ahead for any tips !
 

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Will he play tug? Playing tug is a great way to get engagement. He may just not know how or has had a bad association with fetch. Another thing, the desire to chase is based on Drives his "mix" could have cancelled the GSD desire or that drive that motivates him to chase it again, again and again.

How recent is "recently adopted"?
 

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It may take awhile to get your pup to play with you. My 3 year old GSD I got has finally gotten down the whole playing with toys thing. It took awhile but I just kept trying new toys and trying to make them look as fun as possible. When I first started with tug the only thing she showed any interest in was a fairly small strung basically. Everything else was too new and maybe a bit scary. I'd throw balls and just try to get her wound up. Spend lots of quality time with your dog and work on building a bond with him. That will help a lot.
 

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Do you know if he lived with small dogs or cats in his previous life? Because he has a strong prey drive with rabbits. This can instantly be turned on with any small running animal, such as your small dog.
 

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I got my second German Shepherd Wyatt from my breeder who got the dog back from an abusive home and he didn't know how to play either. It was bad. He peed all the time in fear and Luna would run around and try play with him he didn't understand what was going on and was fearful. However with patience, confidence boosting, and trying to play with him and him with Luna. Now he plays just as much if not more that Luna and it's great. Sometimes it just takes time.
 

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If he has such high prey drive, working with a flirt pole might turn on his play drive. With lure coursing (sight hounds) we sometimes used a fresh rabbit skin if the rare dog wouldn't chase the lure. I would let him smell it and then tease him with it etc. Don't forget to have fun with him during all this.
 

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I'm not trying to be funny, but have you considered the fact that maybe the dog just doesn't like playing?

People have a way of deciding how dogs should react, dogs.......much like people are individuals.

My advice for what it's worth, let the dog relax and be a dog. You just recently got him, he does not know you, has no bond with you and you are expecting a lot from him.


Kim
 

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We adopted him a month ago. The tug thing is a good idea. I will give it a try and keep it as fun as I can. This morning I was trying to get his interest in a tennis ball to no avail. I was also including my little dog so he could see her playing. Thank you for your input!
 

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Kim, I have considered this. He just lays around looking bored, but Im sure there is a lot going thru his mind. He had a few health issues to work thru when we first got him and had also just been neutered. So we really let him rest and heal for the first couple weeks. However, I do plan to continue trying to introduce different forms of play or tug in short intervals at a time. We have him enrolled in a very good dog training too. He's learning basic commands beautifully from that. I understand his becoming comfortable will take time and reinforcement that he is truly a loved member of our family and work on the bonding. I know that will take time. He's very close with us know, and its quite amazing he has been able to do this so quickly. Even the foster mom couldn't believe how quickly he stared bonding with us, the first couple times we went to visit him. She said she had never seen that happen before. We've had several black labs in the past, and they became the most loyal bonded dogs you could ever imagine. Our fur kids are the same as children in the respect that it takes time. I take your input as positive and appreciate your feedback!
 

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Thank you for your input! Im not I'd want to use the rabbit fur with him. Although it would certainly get his attention! LOL. Maybe some left over meat or something along that line would be worth trying! . Thank you for your input! I do like the idea of luring him on!
 

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I do understand the desire to play with the dog. It is our way in interacting and having fun with our dogs and can be very good for training as well.

Tie something suitable as a tug to a rope and drag it around the dog being silly, much like you would with a kitten and a string. If he chases rabbits there is a good chance he will like this as well.

I got an older pup that did not know how to play and this game got it going. Once the dog is grabbing whatever you have tied to the rope you can encourage a tug game. "Out" and then toss it encouraging its return. The easier the item is for him to bite the better. I used one of those big chew rope thingy s they sell. Worked well.
 

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My first dog was a rescue, a GSD and lab mix. Great dog, loving and friendly, but never a retriever. I wanted him to be, and I was only 10 yrs old mind you, so at one point I actually acted out for him what I wants him to do I.e. crawled o. My hands and knees and picked up the ball with my mouth and brought it back to him. He was soo impressed that he retrieved the ball for me once...then made it clear that would never happen again! He did eventually show me what kind of play he did like though, and I loved that dog more than I can tell you!!

Let your dog tell you what he likes...he will when he's ready.
 

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I now have a new GSD pup who loved to chase balls but would never actually bring them back. Through patience and repeated coaxing...and time...she's now decided that she's definitely descended from champion retrievers and tries to beat out all competition for getting the ball and bring it back. Go figure!

Point is they're all different and will let you know what they want/need. Give it time, and ample patience ??
 
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