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Hi, I could do with some advice, I have a gorgeous three and a half year old male neutered toy poodle. I’ve had him sine he was 10 weeks old, he is comical, playful, generally well behaved. Loves all people and children. Has his favourite dogs but can be a bit nippy with some dogs if they are too boisterous.
he is walked daily but for cardio exercise I play ball which until recently he loved. I use the small hard balls for him. About a month ago I threw the ball and it hit him on the head. I said sorry and cuddled him but now he won’t play at all. I’ve checked him over, back neck, head everywhere, nothing is tender. He plays a little ball inside but not like he did and he seems frightened. I’ve tried to coax him but he just walks back inside. Any thoughts anyone?
 

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Aw. Poor sensitive boy. He was probably shocked by what he interpreted as a physical correction. I assume he’s not used to that.

My advice would be to get rid of those balls for now and buy or make a flirt pole. It’s a totally different type of play and might act as a nice reset button.
 

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P.S. Peggy was scared to play tug for a while after accidentally getting my hand in her mouth. She eventually got over it by following my lead: I was confident. I was happy to play tug. I wasn’t coaxing her along or acting in any way she might interpret as strange. I was just ready for fun!
 

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PTP has given a great suggestion to reset by bringing in a new style of toy. This will allow both of you to move away from that memory and relax into play again.
 

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A flirt pole is an excellent idea. I would also try a play bow - get down on the floor and stretch your arms out on the ground with your chin resting on them - then try a fun game of tug and catch with a very soft stuffed toy. Different toys, different style, different games. Nothing that might possibly hurt if it accidentally hits him.
 
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