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Can We Teach Him How To Play?


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Our 5-year old male likes to play with toys, but he doesn't play well with other dogs. He gets possessive of the toys or ball, even if they aren't actually his. I know greyhounds aren't usually fond of rough play, but he is like this even with other greyhounds. Is there a way to teach him how to play? It's not a deal-breaker, but I feel like he tries to play with other dogs but just doesn't get it.

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Photographer in Phoenix, AZ www.northmountainphoto.com

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Playing with other dogs is one thing. Expecting them to play nice WITH a toy (i.e. resource) is an entirely different thing. Kili plays REALLY nicely with other dogs and toys. She just loves it. But not all dogs see it that way. To some dogs a toy is a resource that is THEIRS and not to be shared. So while Kili and her best friend Cole would play with toys together really well, we couldn't give toys to Kili and Frodo when they played because Frodo would guard them aggressively... but with no toys in the picture he played great.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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If he's just playing with a few friends, one way to help the resource guarding is to saturate the room/yard with toys. If there are 2 dogs playing, try putting out 8-10 toys. If he tries to guard all of them, he's probably never going to share! But if there are "plenty," then the pressure may be off of him to guard the one he has.

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If he's just playing with a few friends, one way to help the resource guarding is to saturate the room/yard with toys. If there are 2 dogs playing, try putting out 8-10 toys. If he tries to guard all of them, he's probably never going to share! But if there are "plenty," then the pressure may be off of him to guard the one he has.

 

The problem I see with this approach is that many times the other dogs only want the toy that someone else has. For example, Kili will chase down a dog with a ball and try to steal it out of their mouth. Or she'll take off with it if she gets a chance. But the reality of the situation is she doesn't really care about the ball... it's just part of the game to get the other dog to play with her. So you can put out as many toys as you want, but there's a good chance that the other dogs will just lock onto the one the others are playing with and will try to steal it. If there's a resource guarder in the picture the safest thing to do is eliminate all toys until he learns to share... which may be never.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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The problem I see with this approach is that many times the other dogs only want the toy that someone else has. For example, Kili will chase down a dog with a ball and try to steal it out of their mouth. Or she'll take off with it if she gets a chance. But the reality of the situation is she doesn't really care about the ball... it's just part of the game to get the other dog to play with her. So you can put out as many toys as you want, but there's a good chance that the other dogs will just lock onto the one the others are playing with and will try to steal it. If there's a resource guarder in the picture the safest thing to do is eliminate all toys until he learns to share... which may be never.

This is probably best. I do appreciate all of the opinions. We like to take him to the dog park to run and obviously there are a lot of balls there. Maybe I can try to find him a playmate to run muzzled with. Thanks!

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Photographer in Phoenix, AZ www.northmountainphoto.com

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Be open minded to the possibility that your dog's character (probably driven by genetics) may not be disposed to playing with other dogs. My Hester is an extreme example, he simply will not play with other dogs. It would appear that to him life is serious business. In some cases he will force other dogs to retreat that do not conform to his rules about greetings. Younger males tend to get the worst of it. And yes he will toss a stuffy around now and then.

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