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Dogs have a natural urge to play, which is why it is worrying for pet owners if your dog is suddenly disinterested in toys. Dogs need physical stimulation since they use this time to communicate and bond with their owners.
The reasons for this scenario include stress, boredom, and anxiety. A playful dog is a delight to have around, and you can use the guidelines below to get your pet interested in its toys again:
Your Dog is Bored
Most dogs lose interest in toys because of boredom. Dogs are intelligent animals, and they have been shown to prefer new toys to old ones.
In 2018, researchers from Germany’s University of Giessen and the UK-based University of Lincoln sought to determine the preference of dogs when it comes to toys. Most of the dogs responded to the new toys when given a pool of familiar and unfamiliar play objects. These results were subsequently noted in the Journal of Animal Cognition.
Dogs become especially bored with toys that emit no noise when prodded or those with unyielding surfaces. You can, therefore, invest in squeaking and soft toys.
Your Dog Has Too Many Toys
Too many toys can result in overstimulation such that your pet will not choose any toy at all. If you have many toys for your dog, you can store some and keep them on rotation to keep your pet excited.
Your Dog Suffers from Anxiety
If your dog is not excited by their toys anymore, they could be having higher levels of anxiety or stress. This commonly happens if your pet lacks mental or physical stimulation. In addition to avoiding their toys, your dog can also sleep for longer, isolate themselves and hide, or constant bark.
How to Make Your Dog Play with Toys Again?
It can be frustrating to see a formerly playful dog lose interest in its toys, but you can it combat by:
Rotate the Toys
Rotating your dog’s toys will keep them excited for playtime.
Your dog will naturally be interested in only a couple of toys at any time. Limit them to five to avoid overwhelming your pet with many choices. Change these toys every week.
You should also invest in a variety of toys to keep your pet’s interest. One rotation can include squeaker toys, rope models, stuffed puzzle toys, and tennis balls. This will ensure that your pet has something to engage with depending on their mood.
Another tactic involves hiding some toys for your pet to find. Scope out the areas where the dog is likely going to find the toys, as long as they will not damage anything while looking.
You can also stuff treats in the toys you hide to make the scavenging hunt even more exciting for your dog. Identify your pet’s favorite object and leave it out of rotation every time.
The rotational objects should be safe to give your dog access to when you are out. Leave out the toys that need supervision for when you are around.
You can use training techniques to make your pet interested in different toys.
Hold a treat in one hand and a toy in the other. Encourage the pet to touch the toy and show excitement by giving them the treat.
Repeat the session until the dog is continuously touching the toy first. You can then lay the toy on the floor and reward them every time they touch it. Reward them more if they take the object with their mouth.
Another commonly used tactic is putting treats inside a toy. Encourage them with reinforcements like “good” when they try to get to the treats. Food is the most effective reinforcer with dogs, so incorporating it into training sessions will encourage your dogs to play with their toys.
Make the Toys Interactive
You can make toys more interactive if your pets start getting bored with them. Can a toy be used to play fetch? Can you add your pet’s favorite treats in a stuffed model?
Pick a toy that they are never interested in and initiate a game of tug. Dab some peanut butter in a chew toy and entice them with it.
You can also make an item wiggle and move around to excite your pet.
A pet owner can make a noticeable difference in the interest worth of a toy. When you engage your pet in a game with a toy, they will be excited about it differently.
You can even try some reverse psychology by playing with an old toy and not letting your dog play with it. Play with the toy by tossing it in the air and appearing to have a great time by making happy sounds.
Do this several times a day for some minutes, and do not give the toy to the pet. The idea is to build their interest in the toy by seeing you have fun with it. They will start showing a great interest in playing with the toy, and you can let them have it after a while. Reward them once they start to play with the game to build the toy’s value.
Ensure you are using the right approach during playtime to make your dog interested. Chasing and runaway, for example, has been shown to elicit active responses from dogs.
Identify your Pet’s Preferences
You should observe the kind of responses your dog gives to stuffed, squeaking, bouncing, and chewing toys. Different dogs will prefer varying types of items. This exercise will help you select the toys that will engage them for longer.
It will also help you to spend a lot of money on toys that your pet does not care for. If you see that they are not excited by a chew toy, some pet owners will purchase more from different brands in the hope that they will respond to them.
Best Toys for Bored Dogs (Boredom)
If your dog seems to be bored, here are few toys you can try out:
StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
This fun and interactive toy is designed as an adjustable treat-dispensing model. It bobs back and forth during playtime thanks to a weighted bottom, and it is intentionally animated to excite your pet.
It will dispense treats as your pet nudges the toy consistently.
The toy is also easy to use. The yellow top can be quickly unscrewed and stuffed with your choice of treats. It has a huge capacity to accommodate a whole meal, depending on how much food you want to give your pet.
The toy’s openings are adjustable, and you can determine the level of difficulty that is suitable for the pet. Determine if your dog gets frustrated with a higher level of difficulty and reduce the size of the openings.
Your pet can chase, nudge, and bite the bob-a-lot toy.
This model is perfect for bored dogs because it is designed to be interactive. You can leave them with it because they can be engaged on their own. Such a toy also provides mental stimulation and reduces the chances of your pup getting stress or anxiety.
SPOT Ethical Pet Interactive Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Toy Puzzle
The toy is bone-shaped, and it has ten holes for stuffing treats. The six sliding disks will challenge your pet to find the treats in the right holes. The puzzles will provide the much-needed mental stimulation for the dog.
If you want to improve your pet’s cognitive abilities, this toy will demonstrate how cause and effect works. Your dog will learn to think before acting as they look for the holes with treats.
IQ puzzle toys come in handy when dealing with a bored dog. You can also use it to address negative behaviors on the part of your pet.
West Paw Zogoflex Qwizl Interactive Treat Dispensing Dog Puzzle
The Qwizl toy will stimulate your pet’s mind while satisfying their taste buds. You can stuff a range of treats in the toy, including nut butter, dog biscuits, apple slices, carrot sticks, and jerky strips. The dog can continue to chew the toy even if the treats run out since it is FDA compliant.
The brilliant design used on the Qwizl will stretch out play sessions and extend the life of their snacks. Its solid construction makes it suitable for games like toss and fetch. The model has bright colors to make it easy to find outdoors.
The toy floats in water, in addition to being recyclable and dishwasher safe.
Dogs are quite playful, but what happens when they suddenly lose interest in their toys? Your dog could be asking for new toys and different games when this happens. Dogs also demand novelty in new playthings.
You don’t have to keep buying your pet new toys, however, as you can creatively keep them in rotation. Too many toys at any one time can also overwhelm your pet. Ensure your dog is not stressed or anxious.
When getting toys to deal with pet boredom, source for puzzle toys and interactive models that offer a great deal of mental stimulation for the dog.