I didn’t know how to play until I was three years old.
I came to live with Mom when I was two and a half. Until then I had spent my life in racing kennels with other greyhounds and my owners. I suppose I must have played when I was a puppy, but it wasn’t something we did once we were grown up.
At first, most of my time was spent learning to live in a house. I had to learn about garden duty, and sleeping alone downstairs, not to steal food or chew things, and to love my new Mom.
None of that was easy or quick, except loving Mom, that part was easy.
Mom gave me cuddly toys when I first came home with her and I loved them! I carried them around and put them on my bed. I just liked having them. But I didn’t really play with them.
The first time she grabbed my toy to play tuggy, I let go at once. I thought she wanted it back! She looked sad and gave it back to me. I thought that fighting her for it was bad. I didn’t understand then, that she wanted to play with me, and that I was sometimes allowed to be a bit naughty!
Then she bought me a quacking duck! I quacked it a few times and found that it made Mom smile, so I did it more! Sometimes she would throw it and I would chase it, but I never brought it back. When she came home from work I would grab my duck and run around with it in my mouth, which made her laugh! I liked that sound so I did it more!
Sometimes in the garden, Mom would crouch down and run round me to play chase but I didn’t know how to play that, so I just moved out of the way. She tried running away from me, squeaking my teddy but I was confused and just followed her about.
It was a very long time before I realised that she was offering to play with me! But once I understood that I was allowed to ‘pretend’ to be naughty, it all made sense! I just had to recognise when we were playing and when we weren’t!!
I don’t always get it right even now! Mom and Dad were play fighting with a rolled up newspaper recently and I misunderstood. I nipped Dads arm because I thought he was hurting Mom! Dad yelped and they stopped straight away. Oops! Luckily I didn’t hurt him too much!
Nowadays, if I want to play, I put my chest to the ground and my bottom in the air and wag my tail. This works almost every time! I play tuggy now too and I love it! I throw my toys around and catch them and Mom laughs.
I am such a very lucky hound.