Is it a bad idea to go out using a launcher for long sessions - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Is it a bad idea to go out using a launcher for long sessions

Basically the dog is running back and forth after the ball. She is 1.5 years.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 05:31 PM
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I like to mix up play with obedience...so I wouldn't be doing that....I'd ask for positions, heeling with focus, and mix it up with the running fetch. Mental exercise wears out a dog just as fast as physical.

But if I were working on something particular or teaching the dog, I'd not reward with the launcher, but put the dog up for processing after the session. So play/train/play, but with goals in mind.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 06:19 PM
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The problem with a ball launcher is that she may sprint really fast after the ball and then suddenly stop to get the ball. I would be worried about the impact this sprint and sudden stop may have on my 1 1/2 girls joints.

My two are ball driven, so I give each one a medium size ball to hold in their mouths while I kick a larger ball around. They are extremely happy with this type of ball play - it satisfies their herding and prey drives and they don't sprint, they do what a GSD is suppose to do - trot. Much better for their hips and elbows, not to mention it really helps with developing their gait.


if your GSD is eating and eating and eating and losing weight - please consider testing for EPI.


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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 06:26 PM
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I use the ball launcher a lot! Great way to have then burn off some energy. I make sure it is on softer ground - or here where I live, icy/snowy roads, where my boy can skid to a stop, so easier on the joints, or grassy dirt during the summer.

Another thing I do to maximise running distance and minimise sudden stops is use two balls: I launch it one way, Gryff brings it back at full out run because he knows I have another ball ready to go, tell him to out as he approaches, then turn 180 degrees and launch the other way. I hurry to pick up the dropped ball and get ready to launch it again the other way for when he brings back the second ball - etc.

Twice the distance covered, full running in drive, half the stops/starts. Love it! (So does he!).

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-15-2014, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Hi,
What kind of positions do you ask for apart from sit and down?

Thanks.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-15-2014, 09:21 AM
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I ask for fronts, then back into heel position, do some heeling before rewarding. I also pretend to throw it, and the dog may run, I then ask for a down when the dog is in motion far away. Reward for that. Or make the dog wait while I chuck it, then when the dog gives me eye contact, send him for it. There are alot of things you can do while playing fetch mixed with training.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-15-2014, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
I ask for fronts, then back into heel position, do some heeling before rewarding. I also pretend to throw it, and the dog may run, I then ask for a down when the dog is in motion far away. Reward for that. Or make the dog wait while I chuck it, then when the dog gives me eye contact, send him for it. There are alot of things you can do while playing fetch mixed with training.
This!

I like to put my dogs into down/stays and walk 10-20 yards away from them, too. Then release, throw the ball - they have to cover twice the distance and it REALLY tires them out - if I don't have a lot of time for training/play, and works on their stays at the same time, with a huge distraction.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-16-2014, 06:13 AM
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The problem with a ball launcher is that she may sprint really fast after the ball and then suddenly stop to get the ball. I would be worried about the impact this sprint and sudden stop may have on my 1 1/2 girls joints.
This we should worry about with any age dog.. And over time it really does throw there body out of whack.. And it doesn't have to be with a ball launcher..

What the Chiro vet told me was to throw the ball and let it land before you send the dog.. That way the impact isn't as great or sudden and you don't have the twisting/jarring of the neck and body..

Just some food for thought..

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-16-2014, 06:46 AM
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This we should worry about with any age dog.. And over time it really does throw there body out of whack.. And it doesn't have to be with a ball launcher..

What the Chiro vet told me was to throw the ball and let it land before you send the dog.. That way the impact isn't as great or sudden and you don't have the twisting/jarring of the neck and body..

Just some food for thought..
This is interesting, as Fama is not allowed to play ball. Her reward for search work is a ball. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to reward her for search work without tossing a ball or playing tug.

I think I'm going to switch her over to marker rewards for finds and then roll the ball towards her, or better yet, roll the ball towards her and then release her from the find with the marker after the ball stops.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-16-2014, 07:00 AM
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What I ended up doing with my bitch that had a back/neck issues was light tugging (really she was doing the work I was basically just holding the sting) with the ball or just tossed it to her.. You keep it very low key and or just use a food reward..

What was also good about just letting the ball die before sending the dog is there hunt drive kicks in and that also will wear them out.. That is if the dog has that drive..

Leesa~

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