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Won't play anymore

Discussion in 'Behavior' started by Pam, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Pam

    Pam Forums Enthusiast

    Mar 4, 2017
    OK, so Beau is doing great on walks, only an occasional lunge at a rabbit, etc. He does great in stores and at training, walking in the park is very good as well. Our yard is still problematic if he is not on a relatively short leash. He will chase every leaf and rabbit in sight. Once he started to be so reactive again, he forgot/doesn't want to play. I can't get him to chase balls or frisbees or simply tug in the yard. I've tried treats for fetch, etc--nothing seems to work for more than a minute. The only thing he wants to do is chase things/fence run if off leash. On leash he is fine but our yard is small which means walking him around and around and around the perimeter: no exercise, no fun for either of us.

    So I guess I am asking: how does one bring back play? And how do I fade the short leash? I really want to be able to play with him outside and also, eventually, let him out alone.
    Piper's mom likes this.
  2. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 4, 2012
    I am sorry but I do not have any answers for you, I am curious to see some suggestions.

    I can tell you that Shelby does the same thing, it was much worse at our previous home where there was ALWAYS something/someone to react to. She would rarely play outside. She still is not big on playing outside. She may chace the ball a few times and she is done. But, inside she will play fetch for a long time. She especially likes to play when I am loading/unloading the dishwasher. She likes the throw her ball in the dishwasher
    Piper's mom and Phoebe'smom like this.
  3. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    Perhaps with a little time, he'll sort it all out.
    Piper's mom likes this.
  4. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

    Oct 14, 2008
    What is difficult is that you have to bring Beau back to a place under his threshold. It's clear that anything in the yard puts him over his threshold. It's very common that dogs can't focus, play or work when they are over their threshold. There's a lot of information out there about thresholds, I just linked below to one of the first I found. There are some focus games you can likely find as well to calm that reactive instinct.

    Piper's mom likes this.
  5. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Premium Member

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg Mb
    Piper is very much like Beau and Shelby in that he's not big on playing in the yard unless it's playing with my other dog Riley, they play and run like crazy in the yard! In the house I can get Pipers attention with a toy but only if I'm holding it, if I throw it he loses interest quickly. What I've done in the past is tie a long line to a toy and run with it dragging on the ground...this usually really gets Piper going and increases his play drive, I run with it and amp it up saying get it...get it...just do whatever it takes to make it so much fun for them. Try finding the toy they like the most and use only that one, make it so much fun that you are the most important thing in the yard. Your neighbors may think your crazy but who cares.
    As for fading the line try working on 'come' as often as you can, on walks and in the yard (they ALWAYS get a reward when they come to you). You can do it on a flexi as well by letting them have some line and then calling them and reeling them in as they come. Do as many of their obedience exercises outside as you can so they learn to avoid the distractions and pay attention to you.
    I must say they do get better as they get older, at almost 3 Piper is a wayyyy better behaved dog than he was at 2....although I do sometimes miss the puppy I love the well mannered dog he's become.
    Shelby's mom and Jams like this.
  6. SKNerissa

    SKNerissa Forums Enthusiast

    Dec 3, 2013
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
    I would suggest using a long line and a good harness that doesn't restrict joint extention (the Balance Harness is a very good option). Start by giving him 5 feet of line and gradually increase as he learns to focus on you. Some high value treats and training games on the line should help him to focus on you. You can also toss a ball and other objects within reach and use the line to help redirect attention if needed. As for the type of line, Biothane is a really nice option as it's waterproof and doesn't snag as easily as other materials. There are lots of people selling custom biothane lines on etsy and other sites so you can choose your color, width (3/8" is good for shelties) and a clip style and size that is light enough for a sheltie.
  7. Daisy1015

    Daisy1015 Forums Enthusiast

    May 2, 2014
    My dogs dont play alot after the puppy stage, not with toys anyhow
  8. sable

    sable Premium Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Here, Lil' Lady the Royal Highness would prefer I carry a ball in my mouth then to have her do such a thing.
    She is different. She would rather hit a hanging plant like a tether ball hanging on a shepherd hook with her nose.
    She loves to run after the squirrels, they play on her territory, get out. When I try to get her to play, I receive a
    Sheltie Stare.
  9. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Premium Member

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg Mb
    Piper would much rather go after my feet or the slippers I'm wearing rather than toys. He does have one or two he'll play with if we play the chase game but otherwise he doesn't bother with them. Of course the two dogs LOVE to play tug with my slippers...they make the best toys :)
    Hanne likes this.
  10. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

    Nov 13, 2014
    Minnie does not play with her toys - she just spreads it all over the floor
    - when we are inside in the evening, she thinks it is fun to pick up a piece
    - give me a cheeky look - I'm going to say "waw it's so nice"
    - then she jumps to me on the couch with It - I have to shake it a couple of times
    - then it starts all over again - she picks up a new piece until the couch is full of her toys
    - so she leaves and then I can clean up :biggrin2:
    Cara Sandler likes this.

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