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Indoor Fetch and Off-Switches


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Hey everyone, quick question. Ever since Tama was a puppy, we played with him a lot indoors, variations of fetch and tug and hide and seek. Now he's 1 year old and settles wonderfully in his crate, but our issue is that when he's outside of his crate he EXPECTS playtime and attention non-stop. Obviously I can't crate him the whole day, so we're looking for a way to wean him off of this and teach him an off-switch for when he's not in his crate. My question is, should we stop playing with him indoors? It's a bit hard to do this because we're leash training now, so his energy outlet is somewhat limited since we can't even walk to the park yet. When I put all of his toys away and let him out of his crate, he starts barking, chewing, digging... and then gets crated for it, rinse and repeat. Am I going about this the right way? 

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Yes.


Stop  playing inside.


Remove the toys entirely.


Prepared to be non-stop  pestered for a while.

 

I had to remove all toys not chews or food dispensing with Molly when she was a puppy, and they stayed there.  First time she bugged me, she was redirected onto a  bed with a chew toy. Second time,same. Third? Time out in a crate. :Lather, rinse, repeat until she got it (which was maybe a week but it was an annoying week- hope springs eternal).

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I agree with the above advice, although that doesn't necessarily mean you cannot ever go back to playing inside. The important thing is to impress on the dog that YOU are in control of the toys, when and where and for how long you play, and that pestering never gets positive results. Once that is fully in the dog's mind, you may be able to go back to playing indoors. But even then, you remain in control of the toys, which may or may not mean that they are out of reach of the dog. 

My Jester was a fetch maniac. He'd rather fetch than eat. I had a toy basket full of stuffed sheep for him to play with indoors, and he could go get one any time he wanted to. But if he brought me one to throw when I had not told him to, he got ignored, and the toys got put away, so he never did. He would sometimes sit several feet away from me and stare, hoping I would tell him "Bring me a sheep" so he could fetch, but I decided that staring was acceptable.

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Oh yeah, for sure you can go back to playing indoors.  I've opted not to, but that's because I have good outside space to play in and inside's kind of a pain.  And, well, it's such an easy, clear, delineation for the dogs to understand- so me taking the lazy way out..

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