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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rose has never played before. She mostly ignores any toy I've got her. Even the Kong treat toy, she gives it a few sniffs and licks but that's about it. If a treat happens to fall out, awesome. I heard that this sometimes happens with rescue dogs?

Anyway tonight Rosemary was laying on her back on my bed and I was wiping up some of her fur of my sheets with a piece off of scrape red felt and suddenly she started trying to bite it. I was shocked, so I wiggled it over her face and watched as she pawed at the air trying to bite at it/ lightly catch it in her teeth.

Was she playing? How do I repeat this? What toys should I get her? How do I teach her to play? :confused: She does the 'play bow' when ever she gets excited but never done more than jump around like a little Tasmanian devil with her butt in the air.
 

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How long have you had her? Mine love the super tiny Kong furry toys, the beaver is the most popular, with the duck in second place. We also have a felt flower cat toy that we shake over Mickey's head and he jumps after it. Your baby may favor cat toys, also. Some of the "Stages" toys designed for small puppies are enjoyed by chis, too. Some chis like to fetch and others don't. I have one of each. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She found us 5 months ago. She does not like stuffed toys, rope toys, balls, or anything like that. Also her teeth are not exactly in the best shape. I'm definitely going to give cat toys a try. Thank you.
 

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A dogs "key to their curiosity" is smell, and curiosity is the base for play! I can completely understand that she was excited you were manipulating "smell" around by flipping the felt that smelled like your other dog! Sometimes, giving them "foreign" objects (foreign being that they don't smell like you at all, like new toys) doesn't stimulate them in that special way.

When I got my Ponyo, she came from a breeder that had five dogs (one of the reasons the breeder decided to give her to me) and never had any real "human to dog" play. She mostly played with her littermates or parents because they were breeder/showers and didn't really have enough time to "human-dog" play with her. Dogs will make up their own games and rules... but you know how I got Ponyo interested in the toys? STINK! SMELL! I noticed she really liked stinky/smelly things (mostly the reason why they chew up our shoes and the like) so I put a tiny tennis ball, a rope toy and a tiny plushie in a plastic bag with a tennis shoe of mine and let it sit out in the sun for a day. Once I brought the "stinky toys" back in, she was INSTANTLY interested! This tactic is NOT good for a larger dog, because you're giving them "free reign" on your smell (to chew things up or destroy them)... but with a smaller dog like a chihuahua, it can sometimes help to get them interested, and the damage they can do if you leave your shoes out isn't as devastating because, well, they're so tiny! (You should never leave "prized" objects in your dog's reach if you don't want them to investigate/destroy them, anyway)

Smell is value. And when something "stinks" like you (or another close, loved pack mate,) it's interesting! I've found with rescue chis they do well in a household with other secure dogs, and sometimes will differ to their smell or presence more than ours because it's more recognizable. It can be the base for interest and curiosity, thus being the base for play!

You can recreate this behavior by selecting the object you wish for your chi to be interested in and "marinating" it in you/your pack's smell. Once you give the object value with smell, you will be initiating intense curiosity, which is the base for play. Try getting a cloth/rope based toy and leaving it in a pillowcase/bag with other objects that stink for a day or two: socks, shoes, bones your other dog has chewed on, your old sweaty gym shirts, ect. Make a "smell marinade!" The stinkier the better! (To really enhance this effect, sleep with this bag full of stuff!)

Chihuahuas are naturally so playful and I know she'll catch on fast! Once the smell is so intense, she can't help but be interested!

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't have another dog (it was her fur) but this is really great advice. Thank you! I have a rope toy and will try making it 'smelly'. I remember that she once picked up a pair of balled up socks and trotted around the room with it in her mouth.
 

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LOL. More good advice. We had a friend staying with us for several months. He was mortified when Mickey came proudly trotting into the TV room dragging a pair of his drawers. I learned a long time ago to make sure all the undies hit the laundry basket! Now I understand why the underwear is such high value to ****.
 

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We made 'sock balls' for our dogs. Put a small tennis ball into an old smelly sock, and let them at it! Just make sure you don't have any good socks around!
 

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This advice is just what I needed, too. My Lucy is such a serious little lady. She spent most of her time in a crate before we found each other, and she has no idea how to play. I've been wondering how to liven up her day and give her some fun time -- I will certainly give the "marinating" technique a try.
 

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YAY!

I'm telling you, it worked wonders for my Ponyo. Now "fetch" is her favorite game! Smell is value!

Love you folks! And I love Ponyo!
 

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It works! I 'marinated' a low value toy in my old shoe. I came home today and when I picked it up it was a very popular toy! Thanks for more good info, Maddie and Ponyo.
 

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None of my dogs play other than to play bite my fingers and hands. Nothing, so far, entices any of them. Joey used to play ball but he gave it up in favor of gently biting my fingers. They don't even play with each other. What a strange pack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update: I left her rope toy in the laundry room for a while. She is now happily chewing on it. (At least she's not licking herself)
Hopefully soon we will progress into more vigorous playing.
Thanks for all the help!
 
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