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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

I'm getting quite concerned with my little 8 year old pup ( Jack Russell / Rat Terrier Mix !). We've had her since she was a puppy, and I've been noticing for the past few months that her play drive seems normal enough, but it feels like pulling teeth to actually get her to play and release that energy. This has NEVER been a problem until the last month or so.

Maybe it's just the rainy winter weather and she is getting bored, or maybe it's because we don't have access to our outdoor porch ( where she loves to run and play) right now. I'm trying to get that settled with my family so she can have her favorite play spot again, but for now, playtime is inside

I know this will be asked, but...she doesn't really like walks anymore. She is a family dog, and my family never took her on walks when I went away for college. I graduated in 2019, and once I tried to get her back on our routine, but she doesn't seem too interested in leaving the yard anymore since that isn't her normal. The outdoor back porch became the outlet for running.

But...playtime is inside for now. I've tried to throw her ball ( her favorite toy in the world) , or entice her with all her crinkly toys. Playtime, which used to be so simple and fun, has turned into stagnated event. She stops playing after every move to stare at me. It's so obvious she wants to play SO badly, and I want to give her that, but it's almost as if she doesn't know what to do anymore, or she doesn't know what she wants. She chases after her toys, but seems disinterested once she sniffs it and comes back with an empty jaw.

She at least comes back with the ball after she bolts after it, but even that activity slowed down drastically.

She doesn't look frustrated, but she could be. And I'm frustrated on behalf for her, because I feel so bad...

Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Maybe I need to find more alluring toys that'll grab her attention? I'm trying my best to get that outdoor porch back for her. I've tried to play with her on the grass, but the Porch is her playground...I have a huge feeling the porch being worked on is the reason why she is getting bored, but this rainy, winter weather is slowing us down some in that department.

...Or maybe I'm the boring one and I'm not playing right in her eyes. 馃槀

Super Moderator
4,824 Posts
Maybe a vet check would be a good idea to see if she has any underlying health issues.

Then since she is a terrier, I'd try playing in ways that engage her natural instinct to chase small furry things. A flirt pole for example.

I'm fairly sure there is something on Denise Fenzi's blog about building play drive too.

873 Posts
Don't know if this can help but to add, I also have had terriers (considered terriers in my country), so I've learned what makes my dogs interested.

They were never really into fetching either. Just not their thing. Instead I 'bring to life' his plush animals and stuff like that. Make them hide under blankets or pillows, around corners, scrurry around...
He knows they aren't alive, I'm not fooling him or anything, but the prey movements help engage his instincts to chase rodents.

He likes to run around with a toy in his mouth for me to chase him, or he likes to chase me (but really I'm too slow for him lol). Anyway chasing, hunting, stuff like that is more his thing.

If you haven't tried it yet, I suggest some games to play inside like hide and seek, snuffle mats, food dispensing toys and puzzles, hiding food under a couple tiers of towels, treats wrapped in scrap material and then rolled in a towel, hiding treats or food in a room and tell him to "find it".

I also taught him to rip up flyer paper that I give him (and watch him) or I wrap a box with flyer paper for him to unwrap. Idk, he loves that but makes a big mess lol.
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