Q: Why won't my dog play with other dogs?
At the dog park, my puppy never wants to play with other dogs. Can I teach him how to play?
You can teach a dog almost anything (including how to raise his leg to “pee” if you insist) but some dogs just weren’t born to play and aren’t innately playful.
Behavioral studies actually rate dog breeds by “playfulness” (scientific researchers have all the fun) and these are at the top of the list: Irish Setters, English Springer Spaniels and Airedale Terriers. Some dogs take life very seriously: Bloodhounds, Chow Chows, and Bulldogs.
If your dog’s breed (or mixed breed) falls somewhere between those extremes — and you really want to teach him to play — here is the lesson plan: Social play, locomotor play, and object play.
Interactive social play for dogs includes wrestling, biting, play fighting and chase games. Locomotor play requires two or more dogs to run, jump and roll around. Object play involves a stick, ball or other dog-friendly item.
Bottom line: Dogs make the best substitute teachers.
Thanks to the vets at BluePearl Veterinary Partners (bluepearlvet.com) for this answer.
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