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Q: Abused Dog Won't Play

October 2, 2008 | By Starling | 14 answers | Expired: 2146 days ago

Abused Dog Won't Play

I know that my dog has a history of physical abuse. It took 2 weeks for her to learn how to walk with us. She's acting pretty much normal now, but she won't play. She won't chase a ball, chew on a toy, or anything!
She's only 8 months old, so still a puppy! I'm sure she'd benefit from some playtime.
Hopefully someone who has dealt with abused dogs can give me some advice to help her open up.

Readers' Answers (14)

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melissa f.
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Oct 07, 2008

In my experience, most female dogs that I have had are not as active as the males. It could be that she just isn't as excited for playtime. However, if she is timid due to abuse, give her time. She needs to discover, in her own time, that she is alowed and encouraged to play.

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JenniferMaurer
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Oct 06, 2008

My dog Simone was never abused but she still never showed an interest in playing with toys. I think some dogs just aren't that interested. She loves to run and chase at the dog park and take walks. And i play game with her where I hide treats and she goes to find them. I wouldn't worry too much about it and just try to find other things she might enjoy.

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Nursiepeg
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Oct 05, 2008

Just love your dog, lots of affection. Lots of attention and keep trying the toys. Once the dog feels more secure and safe it will start to play..

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Terri M.
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Oct 05, 2008

I adopted a dog that I don't think was abused but was never shown how to play with toys. I first time I threw a ball for her she ran and hid. We have had her for four years now and she still doesn't play with toys, but we have found other things that she really enjoys to excite her day. She will get just as excited about a walk and most puppies do about toys. Her favorite thing is to just hang out in the yard with us on a nice day. I think if you are just patient with your new dog and find things that she will get excited about the two of you will have alot of fun times together.

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Tonya S.
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Oct 04, 2008

For animals that have been abused or neglected it can take some time. She will eventually start to feel more secure in her surroundings and become more comfortable. Once she is you will see that she will start to play and be a goofball like the rest of our furry kids. Right now she is more than likely soaking up all the love and affection that you are giving her. Socialization is a good thing to practice as well. If she is not comfortable in public or with new people; start with small amounts of time and work her up. Eventually this will make a difference as well. She just needs to take her own time and learn to live without fear again! Tons of hugs and love...

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Linda C.
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Oct 03, 2008

Working with an abused dog takes patience and TIME. Don't rush her, allow her to come out of her shell on her own terms. She has to learn to trust you, and realize that there are people who will treat her with love and respect in this world. Spend a lot of time near her, but not directly interacting. Turn to the side and just sit. You can occasionally toss some very yummy treats in her direction, but don't' coax her to come to you. The more you can allow her to take the initiative, the quicker she will learn to trust you, and know that you are not a threat. As far as playing with toys, this may take months. She is too fearful and tense to relax enough to play right now. Keep treating her gently, and she should eventually come around. Realize that she may always be a "wallflower" and you may need to accept the limitations that her past has given her.

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Joyce
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Oct 03, 2008

Aww, 1st bless your heart for taking her in. 2nd give it time. Just lots of love and security

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poodlelady D.
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Oct 02, 2008

You have to have alot of patients. We have rescued 7 and one was severly abused, so bad when you took a step towards him he would lay flat and pee, or when I would go to pick him up he would pee. That was 4 years ago, it just takes alot of time and pet him every chance you get. Don't be in such a hurry to ge him to play, he needs to feel secure and safe, and only he will know when that is.If you have another dog maybe if you play with him the other one will eventually join in. Some dogs don't play at all and some do, I know I have 13 and they all are different. So just be very patient, thats all you can really do.

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Kelly
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Oct 02, 2008

Give her time & don't force it on her. In her mind, quick movements equal fear. Depending on the abuse of her previous situation, she may have been punished for puppy play. I had a dog lay in the corner for months before she felt comfortable doing anything & then certain movements & activities still made her duck for cover. It took almost a year for her to really lose herself in her play. Before that, she would stop the minute we would reach for her in fear that she would be hit. The introduction of another dog did not work with our abused girl because she feared them too. Everything is trial & error because it all depends on the previous situation & previous experiences. Abuse is deep seated & there may always be some subtle signs of it. She just needs time with you to learn that no matter what she does she will not be hurt & then maybe she will feel more comfortable with playing. Leave a variety of toys out for her to explore & let her initiate any interaction & include some sort of treat ball so she would have to interact with it to get her treats. Every abused dog is different. I've seen them come in from rescue so happy to be out of a situation that they're ready to play immediately & I've seen them so afraid they'll get hurt again that they won't move if someone is in the room. It just takes lots of time, love & patience. Good luck & bless you for giving her a second chance.

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Ruth W.
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Oct 02, 2008

Your poor dog is very much afraid to play. He probably was hit or beat for touching things. It will take time.
Give him a dog toy and tell him it is his. Put it in bed with him. Wiggle it a little than sit it next to him and walk away. He will need to get use to it and understand that it belongs to him. When you try to play with him do not raise your hands above your head. Do not push him into play. Try playing a few min. Then stop. You may need to do this many times a day.

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