Dogs are probably one of the most empathic and loving creatures on earth. But sometimes, we aren’t able to completely understand their behavior, and we underestimate their complexity.

Dogs have extremely different personalities, regardless of the breed they come from, and they can develop traumas the same way we do. For that reason, if your dog doesn’t want to play with you, you have to work on understanding your dog.

Of course, after you work on your relationship with your dog, there are many things you can do to make your dog enjoy playing with you. Therefore, in today’s post, we’re presenting what you need to do when your dog doesn’t want to play with you.

Dogs Are Different – Understand its Personality

First of all, there’s one important aspect every dog owner should know. Dogs are very different, and they have even more different personalities. Sometimes, even if your dog comes from a breed that is supposed to be very friendly and playful, he can turn out to be very shy and not particularly playful.

Usually, their personality has a lot to do with their parents and the events that take place in their first weeks of life. Maybe they suffered a trauma when they were young, and that’s why they don’t feel comfortable playing with humans.

Understanding your dog's personality and his possible past experiences are the key to making your dog play with you eventually.

Have Patience and Work on Your Relationship with Your Dog

Like any other relationship, the one you have with your dog can only be built over time. It takes time for a dog to truly trust you because you have to prove yourself worthy of his trust.

You have to be patient and build a strong relationship with your dog in time. The stronger your relationship will be, the more comfortable your god will feel playing with you.

Maybe Your Dog Doesn’t Know How to Play

One important aspect you should take into consideration is that maybe your dog doesn’t know how to play. While most of us believe that playing should come naturally for dogs, this isn’t a rule. 

For that reason, if you want to make your dog play with you, maybe you have to teach him how. For instance, if you adopted an adult dog from a shelter, the most probably doesn’t know what a ball is.

Treats Can Be Extremely Helpful

Treats come in extremely handy for making a dog do what you want as they are positive reinforcements for certain behavior. Therefore, whether you want to teach your dog how to play or you want to make him play with you in general, you should leverage the power of tasty treats.

We all know how training works, but how to make your dog play with you by using treats may be something new. You have to link your dog’s interaction with you with something positive – a treat. And gradually, whenever you try to play with your dog and he responds, reward him with a treat.

Find a Toy That Your Dog is Crazy for

Some dogs can be picky when it comes to toys. While they won’t even look at some toys, they can be crazy over others. Therefore, maybe all you have to do to make your dog play with you is to find a toy he will be crazy for.

Before you buy different toys, to not waste your money, try to see what kind of toys he is most probable to enjoy. Does he like to chase objects? Does he enjoy certain sounds? Does he show interest in your shoes or stuffed toys?

Try to Play like Dogs Do

You see, it is not particularly natural for dogs to play with nowadays toys as in their natural environment, there’s no such thing as toys. For that reason, maybe you should try to play with your dog the way dogs do.

Of course, that doesn’t mean to battle in the mud or bite him with your mouth. Your hand will do perfectly for that. You can even chase your dog and try to call him to play with you the way dogs do.

Let Your Dog Choose the Game 

Sometimes, dogs prefer some games over others. Therefore, when you want to play with your best friend a certain game and he doesn’t show any interest in that, you should see what game your dog prefers.

Their game preferences can change from day to day. For instance, my beloved furry girl loved to play with the ball today and tomorrow, she doesn’t even want to see the boll, but she’ll run after every stick I grab from the ground. 

Of course, sometimes it seems like our dog isn’t interested in absolutely no game, but that is ok. I mean not even kids are always in the mood to play.

Accept that Sometimes they Aren’t in the Mood to Play

Last, but not least, you should consider that your dog doesn’t want to play at that moment with you. Maybe he’d rather sleep, sniff, of burry a bone. Just because you want to play with your dog, it doesn’t mean that he wants that too.

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to make your dog play with you, especially if your dog isn’t particularly playful. All you can do is to wait until your dog is in the mood and play with him then.


Dogs’ behavior can be easily explained, and they always have a reason behind it, just the way we do. There are so many reasons why a dog doesn’t want to play with you. Maybe he doesn’t know how to play, he has a trauma, or he’s not in the mood.

But before you try anything else, you have to develop a strong bond with your furry friend, and from there on everything will come naturally.