How can I get my dog to play with me and toys?

I just recently adopted a 2.5 year old Blue Heeler/Beagle mix. She is incredibly loving and sweet and VERY smart, and plays with me without toys, but I can't get her to play with me with toys. I've tried using treats, but she's really not food motivated so that hasn't helped. I know it may take some adjusting time before she's willing to play, but my husband and I are walking her several miles a day, morning, noon, and night, and she's still got lots of energy. The worst part is that she's got terrible separation anxiety, so she uses her energy at night to try to escape from her crate (and sometimes she manages it, even with the corners and bottom zip tied). We're still in college, so we just can't take the time to walk her any more - we've completely rearranged our schedules as it is - but playing fetch would be wonderful, we can toss a ball while reading a textbook or something. We'd love the positive interaction it would give us with her too. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Asked by Member 523688 on Mar 11th 2009 Tagged fetch, energy in Commands
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Best Answer


She probaly never had someone try to play fetch. Keep trying.
and you can put a hole in a tennis ball and attached a string or rope. Pull it behind you in the house and get her chase it. She looks like she has some herding blood in her.
I had to do that with a pup once and then in a few days he was killing himself to catch it.
From then on he was ball nuts!!

Dieta answered on Mar 11th.

Other Answers



She is sooooo adorable, and I know Max would love to play with her! You bet cattle dogs have tons of energy - Max goes to playgroup, and other owners say their dogs are exhausted after, but Max wants to play more at home!

Not sure if this will work for you since she is not food motivated, but maybe you can try it... I hide a bunch of baby carrots around the house, and Max can then hunt them down. It does keep him busy for a while. It's nice because it makes him use his brain. The physical exercise is good, but cattle dogs need mental exercise too.

Also, Max really LOVED sqeaky toys. Maybe it is a way for her to start liking the balls if you add the sound. Just be careful about destruction. If Bailey is a chewer like Max, sqeakers won't last at all.

Max answered on 3/11/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Congrats on adopting your new fur baby, she is adorable.
For starters, Deogie suffers from separation anxiety and teaching your dog to fetch will not fix this problem. It’s not an exercising issue, it is an emotional issue. When a dog has separation anxiety, the dog cannot be isolated from you at any time, even in a different room with the door closed. If your dog truly has this problem, then putting the crate into your bedroom might help her.
Some dogs don't like the crate and will do anything to get out, it certainly doesn't mean they have separation anxiety. If she has never been crate trained and after 2.5 years she is put in one, she is not going to like it. Some training may be in order to put her at ease being in the crate.
As to your question, some dogs may never like to play with toys or enjoy the game of fetch. Dogs are bred to do certain things; herding, hunting, guarding and retrieving, instincts may play a huge roll in how they enjoy playing. Deogie’s doesn’t play with toys or ever fetch a ball, and trust me I have tried. He enjoys running around with me, playing tag or hide and seek. Heelers are a herding breed and a beagle is a hunter, so this may be why your dog prefers running and playing with you instead of toys.

♥ DEOGIE ♥ answered on 3/11/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer