When your pup doesn’t want to play, it’s easy to dismiss them as lazy or not in the mood. But the truth is, your pup may not be the problem. You may be the problem.
Recent studies have revealed that many of the signals humans use to initiate play time are ineffective. While our human minds recognize certain gestures as invitations, to our dogs we’re simply waving our hands around like idiots.
Researchers documented 35 of the most common signals used by humans to initiate play, many of which were minimally effective or completely ineffective. Patting on the floor, “scruffing the dog,” or clapping do next to nothing in the way of encouraging play.
However, patting on your chest, grabbing their paws, lunging, and play bows are incredibly effective.
You might ask, so what? Well, first off, if you’ve asked that you’ve clearly never played with a dog, because it’s amazeballs. Second, researchers concluded that a shelter dog’s willingness to play dramatically affects its chances of being adopted.
That means that many adoptable dogs are being passed over because the humans attempting to play with them aren’t initiating play correctly.
The dogs themselves might be very open to the idea of play if properly introduced.
So keep this information in mind if you’re interested in enhancing play time with your dog, or if you or someone you know are a potential adopter. When you visit a shelter to look for your furever pup, they’re going to put their best paw forward. Shouldn’t you?
Read more about recent studies at Scientific American.