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My dog is addicted to her ball in a way that hurts her

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by MichalDeutsch, Apr 18, 2019.


  1. MichalDeutsch

    MichalDeutsch PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,
    I have a dog named Tink, she's two and a half years old, and super energetic.
    I put aside two hours each day to play with her outside for two years. She always loved racing after the ball, or tag with a stick, but she always also welcomed other dogs to the game and played with them, putting aside the ball iif needed, too.
    For the past couple months she became obssesed with the ball. If I try to play other games with her - she'll grab a ball and will to play only with it. If we go outside- she'll ignore any other dogs or even become agressive if they try to play with the ball, too. If I don't bring a ball - she'll find one outside.
    If other humans play with her with the ball she likes it, or if there is absolutely no balls around she'll enjoy other games too - but if a ball shows up everything is forgotten.
    A few days ago she lost her ball at the beach, then she splashed around and ran and swam and enjoyed a lot more then the obssesive staring and grabbing the ball...
    What can I do to get her to play again with other dogs, and make her play or enjoy other things even if there's a ball somewhere nearby?
    Thank you for your time and in advance for any answer! :)
     
  2. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    Chasing a ball can become addictive - it's a self rewarding game that gives them a natural adrenalin boost. However, enjoyment stops when it becomes compulsive. Personally, I would stop ball games and stop carrying a ball and simply begin to work on engaging her in other ways. What breed is she? You could introduce scent games or finding items, you could introduce a more advanced training programme to stimulate her in other ways or even introduce her to agility. There are many varied ways we can fulfil our dogs mental and physical needs. Throwing a ball is quite repetitive actually (which is why many dogs do suffer a kind of OCD). If necessary using a long lead/line will keep her from looking towards other dogs who are playing ball whilst you teach her that you are having much more fun doing something else.

    It's about getting the right balance. My young Lab adores chasing a ball but I only allow the game for very short times on any walk (and not on all walks) and hardly ever in the garden.

    J
     
  3. MissKittyKat

    MissKittyKat ❤️ BSH, Silver Rules.....and Labs ❤️

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    My boy is obsessed with balls. His previous owners used to play with him all the time and when we adopted him said he loved playing ball fetch.

    From reading and the training I went too became aware this could become an obsession and also how bad the stop starting is for joints. As a result he now gets a game of ball fetch occassionaly. He is the best finder of balls that other people have lost though so sometimes there is no choice.

    We play loads of other games instead, attend canicross club and he seems no less happy.

    As @Jamesgoeswalkies says I would stop the ball games for a while.
     
  4. MichalDeutsch

    MichalDeutsch PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you both very much for the quick answers!
    She's mixed breed adopted at the dog pound when she was two months old. I don't understand much in breeds but people who do usually guess a mix mainly of german shepherd and border collie.

    I will go to the pet store today to look for other intereating and fun stimulations and avoid the ball completely for a while as you have suggested.

    Hope she'll go back to enjoying every moment and the company of other dogs regardless of balls.
     
    kimthecat likes this.
  5. MissKittyKat

    MissKittyKat ❤️ BSH, Silver Rules.....and Labs ❤️

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    One of the things I've recently purchased, a sniffle mat.

    15555840100875308875671560273885.jpg
     
  6. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    My dog loves his ball, too. But even more he loves tuggy games, which works better for me because then I control the game.

    If we’re playing with the ball I call him to me if I see another dog, take the ball and give him a ‘swap’ treat, so the ball is out of the equation.

    As everyone else says, give the ball a break for a bit; it would be good to be able to reintroduce it eventually as you have a great training tool there.

    Just don’t give in to pester power. When the ball is in your pocket it’s GONE. Dogs soon get this concept if you’re consistent.
     
  7. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    My neighbours border collie was ball obsessed. What helped a lot was to use it as a high value reward for other behaviours. One ball throw in return for a trick or behaviour. He quickly learned some complex tricks and behaviours on that basis. We also had a go sniff on cue which was no more engagement stuff, go off and do dog stuff and sniffing. We kept far away from anyone else and we were also dog neutral and we didnt encourage play or interactions with other dogs.
     
    Linda Weasel likes this.
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