How To Entertain A Dog That Doesn’t Like Toys?

Playing with toys is important for dogs. It enriches their lives and keeps them active. But, what do you do when your dog doesn’t like to play with toys? You may be concerned with your pet’s lack of interest in toys, but there are things you can do to keep him/her entertained that doesn’t involve playthings. As well, if you really want to bring out your pet’s ‘inner puppy’, you can try being creative with a toy.

How do you entertain a dog that doesn’t like toys? Make the everyday things you do with your dog more exciting by involving toys.

  • Try fetch or tug toys during a walk at the dog park.
  • Try floating water toys during a swim.
  • Try putting tasty treats inside toys.
  • Try animated or motion toys to get your dog intrigued and involved.
  • Sit down and work on a dog puzzle toy yourself. Get your dog interested to come and join you.

Now that you know you there are ways to entertain dogs that don’t like to play with toys, let’s take a closer look at this in more detail below. We’ll discuss what you can do to keep your dog active and engaged. We’ll also explore possible ways to get him/her interested in playing with toys once again, especially if your pet used to enjoy toys as a puppy. 

So, if you’re ready to learn more about entertaining a dog that doesn’t like toys, then please continue reading…

How To Entertain A Dog That Doesn’t Like Toys? 

Make The Mundane Activities Interesting

My dog doesn’t want to play anymore, what should I do? Your once active puppy now seems disinterested in toys and would rather lay around at home than run around!

Here are some things you can do to keep him/her entertained and active.

Add A Little More Play On A Walk

If you’re thinking to yourself, ‘my dog doesn’t like toys or treats’, why not grab the leash and take them for a walk? Walking is a great activity for dogs of any age. Sometimes a walk itself is enough fun and adventure for a dog and they don’t need toys for extra stimulation.

But if your dog is young, and isn’t interested in toys at home, maybe a walk is the perfect time to introduce different toys to get them interested (and exercised). You could introduce catch, fetch or tug toys to challenge them and add more excitement during a routine dog walk.

Take Your Pet to the Dog Park

Dog parks provide a relatively safe space for pets to exercise and socialize. If your dog shows little interest in toys, try taking him/her to your local dog park to play. This will not only help keep your dog active but also entertained for hours while he/she explores the area and other animals. Dogs socializing with other dogs can be exciting.

Create a Scavenger Hunt for Your Pet

A scavenger hunt is a great way to engage your dog in a fun activity. Hide treats around the house or yard for your pet to find. Combine easy-to-find places with more challenging spots. This will keep your pet active and entertained while also providing mental stimulation.

Even scavenger hunts inside your home can be used to entertain a dog that doesn’t like toys. There are these special rugs for dogs where you can hide treats. This is a great way to motivate your dog to have fun snuffling!

Throw Your Dog a Bone 

It’s no surprise that most dogs love food! So, instead of a toy to play with, why not present your pet with a bone or chew to gnaw on? This will keep him/her busy for hours as he/she tries to get at the yummy treat in the middle – the marrow inside the bone!

Get Them Interested In A Dog Sport

There are all sorts of outdoor-based dog “sports” that can keep your dog fit, healthy and stimulated. These activities are more suited to dogs with a good level of fitness. The last 2 suggestions also require the dog owner to have a certain level fitness – that’s you!

If you are still stumped for ideas, check out our mega list of fun things to do with your dog.

How Do I Get a Dog to Like a Toy?

Perhaps, right now, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘my dog is bored but won’t play with toys’ or ‘my dog doesn’t play fetch’. There are some things you can do to entertain dogs that don’t like to play fetch or be active. If your pet enjoyed toys as a puppy, it’s still possible to get him/her interested in playing with them once again. These ways include the following.

Put a Tasty Treat on the Toy

Sometimes a little motivation is needed to get your dog to pick up a toy again. Try putting some peanut butter either inside or outside the toy to make it more appealing. This works especially well for dogs who find toys ‘scary’ or boring.

Animate the Toy

Peak your dog’s interest by picking up the toy and moving it around. Make funny sounds while squeezing it. If your pet values the time it spends with you, he/she will be more inclined to participate. This will not only get your dog playing again, but it’ll strengthen the bond between the two of you.

Buy a toy that moves around by itself to intrigue your dog. This is especially relevant for dogs with a high prey drive.

Pretend to Play with the Toy Yourself

Reverse psychology is a great way to entice your dog. Pick up a toy and pretend to play with it alone. Don’t let your pet touch it, at first. The idea is for your dog to see you having fun. This should peak his/her curiosity and heighten the desire to engage in play as well.

This is a great way to introduce puzzle toys to your dog that have treats inside. If your dogs sees your having fun (you can pretend to eat a treat!), they may want to join in, especially if they have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!

What are the Possible Reasons Why Some Dogs Don’t Like Toys?

Contrary to popular belief, all dogs aren’t preconditioned to love toys. For example, my little Poodle cross wasn’t interested in toys at all. We tried stuffed toys, toys with squeaks, fetch toys – nothing. but what I did notice is that if my other 2 dogs we’re playing fetch with a tennis ball, then she would chase them chasing the tennis ball!

Some of the possible reasons why your pet shows little to no interest in playthings include the following:

  • They are bored with their toy selection
  • They have no one to play with, either human or animal
  • They haven’t been taught or motivated to play with toys
  • They are either under or overstimulated by toys
  • They had a negative experience with toys in the past
  • They are afraid or stressed when around toys e.g. toys with squeaks freaks them out
  • They suffer from an illness or medical condition, including arthritis, cavity or tooth pain, gum disease, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, etc. making it difficult or painful to play with toys
  • They can access toys throughout the day and is therefore disinterested during ‘playtimes’.

The key here is to find the proper balance.

A dog should have access to multiple enrichment opportunities daily but not so many that they become either overwhelmed or bored. Instead, provide your pet with a handful of different toys each day, just not all at the same time!  Try to choose items that stimulate various sensory networks. This will provide your dog with the most fulfilling, challenging and entertaining play experiences possible. 

How Do I Keep My Dog Entertained While at Work?

Treat dispensing toys are wonderful ways to keep your pet entertained when you’re away for longer periods of time, such as on workdays.

These devices are not only a great distraction but also provide for a stimulating activity culminating in a yummy treat at the end! Since most dogs love being rewarded, this could be the way to get your pet playing with toys again!

A good one to check out online at is Outward Hound Ottosson Puzzle Brick Dog Toy. This game provides dogs with a fun, new way to learn and play. It comes complete with 3 different treat dispensing features and is easy to open and close. It’s a great way to entertain both anxious dogs as well as those that display destructive tendencies when bored or left alone. 


To conclude, there are ways to entertain a dog that doesn’t like to play with toys. Taking him/her for a walk or to your local dog park is one such suggestion. If you want to encourage a dog that loved toys as a puppy to play with them again, you could try putting peanut butter on a once favorite plaything. Animating a toy or pretending to play with it yourself are other alternatives. Trial-and-error is the only way to know for sure what works for your pet. 


Michelle loves enjoying the outdoors with her dogs. She grew in a big house near the beach with German Shepherds. Nowadays, Michelle has down-sized her dogs to poodles, proving small dogs can enjoy the outdoors too! Her dogs enjoy playing fetch, swimming, and long walks. Michelle and her dogs enjoy escaping the city limits to hike, camp, and swim.

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