If you’re saying “My dog won’t play anymore.” you’re not the only one. Many dog owners wonder what has changed when their dog stops playing. Understanding the change in your dog’s behavior can help you decide if you need to be concerned and seek veterinarian attention.
Common Reasons My Dog Won’t Play Anymore
As a dog owner of four dogs, I have experienced changes in my dogs’ play behaviors. Since every dog is an individual, it’s important to figure out the reason YOUR dog won’t play anymore.
Below are the common reasons a dog won’t play anymore.
If your playful dog has a sudden change in play behavior, a health issue may be the cause. Just like a human doesn’t feel like being active when sick, a dog feels the same way. If you notice any other behavioral or physical changes, reach out to your vet.
Loss of Interest
Even a playful dog can lose interest in toys over time. If you haven’t given your dog new toys lately, you may want to try that to see if that’s the reason your dog won’t play anymore.
Lack of Mental Stimulation
Dogs thrive on stimulation – physical and mental. You can increase mental stimulation by making different toys available. Dog toys are your dog’s education, so make it a priority to encourage playing throughout your pup’s life.
Food puzzles are a great option for mental stimulation. The food seems like a treat and is motivating for many dogs and making your dog think about how to get the food out can stimulate the mind.
Prefer Human Interaction
Dogs prefer human interaction when playing, so if it’s been a while since you have played with your pup, that can get him back into playing mode.
Consider taking your dog outside for playing fetch. If your dog doesn’t play fetch, you can throw the stick or tennis ball and just have your dog chase it. Whether your dog brings it back to you in the traditional way of playing fetch doesn’t matter much.
Enjoys Playing with Other Dogs
If your dog plays well with other dogs, take him/her to the dog park. After a few times, your dog will get used to the new environment and have a great time.
You may want to bring a tennis ball with you and throw it while at the dog park. Your dog and others there will have a great time playing fetch.
If you recently moved to a new home, your dog may not be used to the new environment yet. This can cause anxiety and lower energy levels.
CBD for dogs can help dogs with anxiety. Consider it as a way to help your pup through this stressful time.
Old age can decrease a dog’s energy levels. Age-related aches and pains can make it uncomfortable to play as well. Joint problems can make older dogs move slower and not be able to move as much as before due to limited mobility.
Most pet owners see a difference in their dog’s energy levels around 6 years of age.
Some dog breeds are not as playful as others. It could simply be that your dog’s breed isn’t motivated by dog toys.
What to Do When Your Dog Won’t Play Anymore
The following tips can help motivate your dog if he/she won’t play anymore.
- If you have a bored dog, purchase your dog some new toys. A variety of new toys can help your dog feel much more playful. Try some stuffed toys, tugged toys, puzzle toys, or squeaky toys.
- Increase interest in play behavior by interacting with your pup. Play fetch and use tug toys together. Throw a ball even if he/she doesn’t fetch. Play games like hide and seek where you hide and then have your dog find you by calling his name.
- Take your dog to different environments to play with other dogs, such as a dog park, or spend the day at the dog park.
- Spend quality time with your pup and teach him/her some new tricks. Always have treats available for positive reinforcement training.
- It’s a good thing to check in with your vet to see if there may be any health issues. Your vet will ask you some questions and if there are any signs that something is going on, you will likely have to take your pup to the vet’s office. You can also chat with a vet online for just $5.
My Dog Won’t Play Anymore: Summing It Up
Identifying the main reason your dog won’t play anymore is the key to helping your dog play more, if that is what your dog wants to do, of course. Some dogs simply don’t play anymore after they reach a certain age, and that’s okay.