The Odd Couple
June 17, 2010 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I have a little female dog (10 lbs, about a year old) and a slightly larger male dog (20 lbs, about 3 years old). The female wants to play with the male most of the time. The male has grown to ignore her other than maybe once a day, if that, when they have a chase/wrestling session. We've had them both for about two months, adopted separately.

I wouldn't say my dogs dislike one another, but I feel there is untapped play potential. Is there something I can do to encourage them to play more often? They are both very sweet, affectionate, highly trainable dogs with the humans in the house. They don't curl up together or are BFF (I guess they prefer human contact) and I don't need them to, but I wish they'd maybe play with one another more. I'd especially like the male dog to maybe see that the female is fun to play with and she's always ready to romp...but I think he prefers to CONSTANTLY check out what I'm doing instead, or be near my side, or see who is cooking up something interesting in the kitchen.

Am I asking for too much, and should I just count my blessings? I am sure if the female were made of snausages he'd be interested...
posted by The ____ of Justice to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
Give them time. Two months isn't that long, really.
posted by bolognius maximus at 12:01 PM on June 17, 2010

The female is basically still a puppy. As she ages, she will likely be less interested in playing. Playing once a day for an adult dog sounds about normal. It sounds like he's doing the right thing in just ignoring her as opposed to acting aggressively towards her.

Different dogs have different personalities. Not all dogs really enjoy playing with each other. I recommend taking the female to a dog park, so she can expend some of her playful energy.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:34 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Have some patience, if they are this way in 2 years then wonder, in the meantime teach them to sit and stay and stuff like that.
posted by Max Power at 1:06 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah I think the older dog may be less enthusiastic about play because . . . he doesn't want to play as much. He's a mature dog, and he's interested in other things most of the time.

You really should just let them work it out.
posted by General Tonic at 1:35 PM on June 17, 2010

Some dogs just have different energy levels and different interests in play. I have two dogs and got the second to play with the first, only the second doesn't really like to play. I still think they are companions, though, and any separation anxiety that might be present when I leave is mitigated because they have a friend in the house. Over the last 2 years, their level of play has increased, but not by much.
posted by cecic at 1:43 PM on June 17, 2010

Your job is to provide a safe, nurturing home for these dogs. It is not to arrange play dates. If they want to play they will. If they don't they won't. They'll work out the details.
posted by Old Geezer at 3:23 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

What old geezer said.

I really really enjoy yard work. Want to come over to my house and do yard work with me? Who wants to do yard work??? There are some creeping vines from the neighbor yard to kill!!! Come one, everybody had untapped yard work potential!!!

Why should your older dog do things he doesn't need or want to do?

You might want to look into taking the new dog to a dog park or for play dates with other dogs, if your dog management skills are up to that.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:09 PM on June 17, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses, folks!

We don't have a dog park in our neck of the woods, so a dog park is pretty much out of the question.

I will do the recommended thing here, and let them be. We (the humans) do lots of activities with them (multiple daily walks, obedience class, games & toys, etc.) so I guess I'm just worrying about a problem that doesn't exist!
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:15 AM on June 18, 2010

Yeah, it's way soon to be worried (and them ignoring each other much of the day is hardly worrisome.)

Sounds like you're on the right track. They'll get used to each other.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:38 AM on June 18, 2010

Totally understand that you'd want them to be BFF and play together all the time! It may happen, it may not. It may have to do with their age and activity levels, or it may just have to do with their chemistry. My 10-year-old Corgi rarely likes to play (with me or any other dog)...except she goes *bonkers* when she sees the neighbor's teacup Schnauzer, and they could spend hours together. Weird.

Could you take them to doggie daycare once in a while? Or maybe just her? There will definitely be dogs there for her to play with. Or do you know someone who has another young small dog that would like to play?
posted by radioamy at 11:20 AM on June 20, 2010

It really is an age thing.

My pup is 16 weeks. He is hated by the 15-yo shep, ignored by the 10-yo shep, rough-housed for a while (and then snapped at) by the 5yo sheep dog mix, best buds with the 2yo mix (until the 2yo gets tired), and recently discovered that 5-week-old puppies are SO ANNOYING! THEY NEVER STOP PLAYING! WOULD YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR A GODDAMNED SECOND!!!

Let them age a bit, until the younger one calms down, and they'll be fine together. IOW, let nature take its course.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:18 PM on July 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback again!

Not sure what happened, but since yesterday (it's been three months now) he's been playing with her like crazy!

I can only speculate that he logged into my account, read my post, and thought, "oh, that crazy bug like thing is another dog?!?!"
posted by The ____ of Justice at 10:42 AM on July 6, 2010

The ____ of Justice, don't be so sure. He may have created a sockpuppet account. Check your VISA bill for $5 charges.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:12 PM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

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