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Hi guys.

I have a 9 yr old female brindle that I adopted when she was 7.5. Her previous owner left her alone in the backyard all day long and then to sleep in the basement alone at night. So not nearly enough human contact, barely any walks, etc. She is 9 now but has tons of energy and is very healthy.

When I adopted her she adjusted immediately to living in the house with my parents and I. Not destructive, we could leave her alone, etc. Everyday we did a one hour walk in the AM and sometimes we would go on hikes instead. She barely played with toys, didn't fetch, sometimes had zoomies, liked to chase, but that was about it. She doesn't want to chew anyhthing unless it's food like a bully stick but even after a huge bully stick she's still totally like "ok what now?" She is also very dog reactive/aggressive on leash and I didn't have any friends with dogs to try introducing her to off leash until this past summer, where she became friends with a one year old mutt that she loves to wrestle with. This was the first time I'd ever seen her play and wrestle which was amazing, but they live in a totally diff state. She was actually boarded with this dog while I was on vacation and she apparently just laid around the daycare area and didn't play with any dogs besides that one dog and just seemed withdrawn.

A few months ago she and I moved out into a spacious apartment in a different state. I'm having a really hard time meeting her socialization needs. She doesn't really play with toys unless I grab a squeaky toy and practically beg her to play with it. Food puzzles and training bore her almost immediately. It's almost impossible to engage her mentally. She always wants to go outside but even after 2 hour long walks daily in our urban, busy neighborhood she still seems bored and restless. Since she has a rough history with other dogs I honestly have a hard time even thinking of things we can do together besides walks and trying to find empty parks. If I go to a dog park when it's empty and let her off leash, she doesn't do anything. But if a dog were to be there she would be more than happy to chase and romp, but I'm afraid of fights occurring.

As much as I adore her I have a hard time feeling that connection/bond that you get with a dog when you play or just them being a dog. I'm currently looking for job's so I'm home all the time and I don't feel like I ignore her or anything like that.

I'm a dog walker and have dog sat many dogs and it has honestly never felt so difficult and frustrating to meet her needs. I feel like the average dog (or boxer even) has that natural playfulness and it's very easy to engage in play. She always seems like she wants something, she's constantly pawing at me, but IDK what else to do. I feel like she doesn't even enjoy hanging out with me and just chilling after a nice long walk. It's starting to chip away at me and honestly makes me feel like a terrible owner. If she was just a dog who wanted to laze around that would be fine, but she is constantly pawing at me and I know she is frustrated and wants something intense and fun to do...but I'm at such a loss here.
 

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You could try going on walks with her around the dog park and try talking to other people and find out about their dogs and introduce her to one while on a leash it shouldn't be that hard if she is willing to have a playmate. Boxers are not the lay around lazy type of dog they only do that when they are much much older your dog does have some age on her so she shouldn't have the puppy energy but they like mental stimulation she has never had this never had anyone who cared for her or tried to make her a priority in their life she does not know what to do now she has someone to pay attention to her. I don't think you are a bad owner you just haven't figured her out plus you should keep in mind that with all the neglect she has had she really never has bonded with anyone you do still have a chance to do that long walks are a great way to spend time she may not act excited but she really does love the attention especially after living the life she has please keep trying to reach that magic connection with her it may not happen immediately this dog has been let down in a big way and lived most of her life ignored she doesn't know how to ask you for things pawing at you means she does want something maybe just a cuddle. Also remember not all dogs are the same boxer are super smart and sensitive as an older dog toys may not have the same appeal to her. Please don't give up on her.
 

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You could try going on walks with her around the dog park and try talking to other people and find out about their dogs and introduce her to one while on a leash it shouldn't be that hard if she is willing to have a playmate. Boxers are not the lay around lazy type of dog they only do that when they are much much older your dog does have some age on her so she shouldn't have the puppy energy but they like mental stimulation she has never had this never had anyone who cared for her or tried to make her a priority in their life she does not know what to do now she has someone to pay attention to her. I don't think you are a bad owner you just haven't figured her out plus you should keep in mind that with all the neglect she has had she really never has bonded with anyone you do still have a chance to do that long walks are a great way to spend time she may not act excited but she really does love the attention especially after living the life she has please keep trying to reach that magic connection with her it may not happen immediately this dog has been let down in a big way and lived most of her life ignored she doesn't know how to ask you for things pawing at you means she does want something maybe just a cuddle. Also remember not all dogs are the same boxer are super smart and sensitive as an older dog toys may not have the same appeal to her. Please don't give up on her.
Thank you. It feels so much better just to have one person hear me out that has a boxer and understands! It's so hard to not feel like a failure when boxers have so much joy for life and you have one that can't seem to find it. I'm going to try a search for a playmate for sure. Do you happen to know of any other activities senior boxers enjoy?
 

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As my previous dogs got older we used to take nice long walks, they loved having warm baths sometimes just talk to them or read to them! They used to like to go in the car we have a national park area in our hometown I used to just drive them around and let them look at the deer or squirrels I would point them out to them they liked anything that moved fast that they could see. I only had one that made it to 13 the next one was 10 when I lost him, then I lost 2 more but they were young when I lost them to DCM but I treated them like I would an older dog they could no longer run and play so we had to find something else to make their lives fun squeaky toys are always fun and my dogs loved their Nyla bones and Benebones. Your dog may like one of those Kong tennis balls that squeak my current dogs love them. The important thing is the quality time you spend with her because sometimes there just isn't much time I hope you will be with her for awhile now and she gets to know what its like to be valued and an important part of someone's life a lot of dogs don't get that and she wouldn't have until you came along.
 
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