Help for the Ball Obsessed

Playing fetch with your dog is great exercise for you and him. Some dogs, however, become too enthusiastic and develop a ball obsession. They get so focused on the ball that nothing else matters. They constantly stare at the ball, bug the heck out of you to throw it or even sleep with a ball in their mouths. Many people find this incredible frustrating because their dog never seems to relax and just hang out. Working, herding and sporting dogs such as shepherds, collies, pinchers, labs, spaniels, huskies and boxers have been bred to perform jobs and fetching the ball is instinctual to them. Any breed of dog though can become ball fixated. Luckily, there are ways to train your dog to play with the ball without overdoing it.

Dangers of Ball Obssession

It’s important to determine if your dog loves chasing the ball or if she is really ball obsessed. A balanced dog can play with other toys, kids and dogs. An obsessed dog seems to go into a trance.  The body stiffens, eyes glaze over and the pupils become fixated. Instead of being fun, fetching the ball becomes a matter of life and death. Some other things to consider:

• Does your dog abandon everything to play fetch?

• Does your dog prefer fetch above all other things?

• Is your dog neurotic about the ball?

• Is you dog destructive and anxious without the ball?

The more you answer yes, the more likely it is that your dog truly has a ball fixation. While playing fetch with your dog outdoors is a great way to release pent up energy, true ball fixation can cause problems such as:

• Safety issues for your dog. He may be so focused that he runs into the street or other dangerous areas.

• Safety issues for others. Your dog may stop at nothing to go after the ball, knocking down people, kids and other dogs in the way.

• Heat exhaustion. Some dogs do not understand the need for a rest break and a drink of water.

• Not following you as the pack leader. You must establish rules and limitations during playtime so your dog will follow your command.

• Not socializing with other dogs. A ball-obsessed dog typically will not run or play with other dogs if a ball is in sight.

Tips for Breaking Ball Obsession

Your dog loves boundaries and rules. When playing fetch, it’s up to you to set boundaries of what is acceptable behavior.

1. Learn to recognize when your dog is going into an obsessive state. Look for the physical signs of dog obsession in your pooch and correct her in the early stage before the obsession takes over.

2. Take your dog on a walk before playing ball. This will help expend any pent-up energy and allow him to play in a less frenzied state.

3. Get your dog calm before throwing the ball. Ask him to sit and make eye contact with you. Reward him by throwing the ball. Use a calm, assertive energy and avoid getting him worked up by saying things such as ,”You want it? You want it? Go get it!!!!!!!”

4. Allow your dog to play with a ball at home without playing fetch. Being near the ball will desensitize him and help bring down the level of obsession.

5. Teach the “all gone” command. Put the ball away and out of sight and say, “All gone.” Then ignore your dog when she asks for the ball. Be consistent and always follow through on this command.

6. Buy a ball chucker. You’ll be able to throw the ball three times further than by hand and give your dog more exercise in a shorter time. Another big plus? No more bending over to pick up a slobbery ball!

7. Alternate toys. If your dog is fixated on a certain ball, mix it up. Between throws, try a frisbie or different type of ball. Keeping the energy up will help stop him from obsessing on one object.

Dawg Gone Good’s Best Fetch Toys

Planet Dog Bamboo                    K-9 Vibram Disk                       JW Toys Duck Dummy
Chucker

                                 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: