Bloo and I can attest to the rumor that rescue dogs don’t know how to play. I know it sounds weird. I mean how can a dog not know how to play tug, fetch or ball? Doesn’t that just come with being a dog?
But when I first got my pooch, this was one thing among many, he just didn’t know.
Because I don’t have kids, I will admit, Bloo has become my surrogate child. I love him that much. Which is why I am doing everything in my power to give him the best life I can. But as our dog trainer reminds us, he’s still a dog and needs to act like one.
So aside from teaching him how to sit, stay, give me five, and come on command, I had to teach him how to play like a dog. And, like anything, it has taken a lot of time.
All our work seems to be paying off though. Now, not only does Bloo play tug, but he also plays fetch. He’ll fetch it, bring it back and drop it so I can throw it again. Here’s proof:
How to teach a dog to play fetch
How did I do it?
Bloo is very food driven, thankfully. So first I found a good, solid stick and let the dog sniff it right before I threw it. It was kind of funny watching him chase it only for him to turn around and run back to me without it. I’m not sure he knew what to do with it once he got there.
I repeated this many times. After a while, Bloo finally realized that this was something tasty he could chew. So there was some time where he would run, grab it and then lay down and chew it. I stopped that by calling him and offering him food to “drop” it. It took time, patience, laughter and love but finally he got it.
It’s important for a dog to be…well…a dog. And this is dog play. This is what they are supposed to do.
Though I still treat him like he’s my own child, I do know that he’s a dog. He sleeps in his own bed, he eats out of his own bowl and now he finally plays like a dog.