German Shepherd Dog Forums

German Shepherd Dog Forums (http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/)
-   General Behavior (http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-behavior/)
-   -   Ball possessive without any aggression? (http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-behavior/447401-ball-possessive-without-any-aggression.html)

Amurphy26 05-07-2014 10:11 AM

Ball possessive without any aggression?
 
Ok, so Breagha is 18mths old and ball mad. I have two dogs and both love to play with the ball but Breagha has flat out refused to bring the ball back from day one. It got so bad she would run in to the sea with it because she knows I won't go in after her.
I've been working hard on various different behavioural 'quirks' she has and the ball has played a huge part in it so I don't want to stop her playing with it. She doesn't have free access to the ball in the house, she only gets it on walks. The work has paid off and now when there are no other dogs around she'll bring me the ball back to me. If our other dog is there and he takes the ball she just takes it straight back out his mouth. He's incredibly laid back about life. If there are strange dogs about she would be aggressive with them over the ball but she's dog reactive so doesn't mix with strange dogs.

I am confident she wouldn't be aggressive with us over the ball, but she is still possessive and I really want to get this sorted. The research I've done on resource guarding and ball possession all talk about aggresion. She seems to accept I will get it eventually but wants to keep it from me for as long as possible. She has never growled, snarled or guarded over any food or toy.

I'm not sure this makes sense. Basically she's possessive without being aggressive and I don't know what to do about it.

Anyone any ideas?


Sent from Petguide.com Free App

wolfstraum 05-07-2014 10:42 AM

This ball possession is not uncommon at all.....I had a female I imported like this. She was not aggressive AT ALL - just if she got it, it was hers! You could get bitten holding it up high as she would jump and grab - got a few bruises that way, never an actual bite.....she was the same way with a sleeve...you could NOT let her possess it and take it off her easily.

Always have a second ball and trade her, get her to out the ball by offering the other one....very common way to get through this. I always told people with pups from this line to start off with "two ball" because of this tendency to possession in this female's progeny.

Lee

Castlemaid 05-07-2014 12:39 PM

If I understand correctly, she is now fine with bringing back the ball and giving it to you, but only if there are no other dogs around? As soon as there are other dogs present, she refuses to give it up?

Also pretty common. My older girl will try to take Gryff's ball, just because she can, as Gryffon defers to her and doesn't dare challenge her older status. He gives it up readily for me, but if she is around, he clamps down hard and won't let go - that is him channeling the stress of being afraid that Keeta will steal his ball into the holding on to this ball - hard!

I don't think it is fair for me to ask him to give up his ball, when he is so worried about loosing it to Keeta. So I try to make sure that Keeta has a ball of her own, or that I keep her physically away so he does not worry, or that I have another ball on me so we can play two ball.

In your situation, I would suggest two things:

1) Have another toy on you, so you can get her to release for the other toy. If you haven't played "two ball" with her, start in a safe area where she does not have the distraction of other dogs so she understands the game: if you are not familiar with two ball, you throw one ball, she brings it back, you throw the other ball, she brings it back, etc. Or if they are balls on strings - you have one in each hand, so you play tug with one, you out her, present the other one, play tug a bit, out her, go back to the first ball - etc.

2) Don't ask her to out (maybe only very rarely) when there are other dogs around. Let her possess the ball and feel safe in the possession of her ball. The possessiveness of toys is an important trait in working dogs - it makes for drive to work for the toy reward, so that is a trait you want to work WITH, not against.

With puppies (and 18 months still qualifies as a pup), I occasionally allow them "possession" days, where I don't ask them to give up their toy, not once, all day. It's theirs, and they can enjoy it. This has not caused them to increase possessiveness, I think constantly taking things away from them is what causes extreme possessiveness, as you can see how she acts around your other dog.

Just a couple of things to try - hope it helps, or gives you some ideas for other tricks you can work on.

Amurphy26 05-07-2014 03:29 PM

That's it exactly. I'm glad others experience it. I've mentioned it to a couple if trainers but they just say to use traditional retrieve training methods. Like I said, they've worked with me but not when there are other dogs around.

I take out two balls but I will try and let her have more possession on some walks and see if that helps. I've started using her leave command and have her watch our other dog and me playing. She does it but it must be like mental torture. Luckily he has a favourite play toy which she isn't interested in.

Although there are no issues in the house we are hoping to get another dog next year. Because of her dog reactivity we will likely get a puppy but I would like to have this under control before introducing another dog to the house.

Thanks for your responses.


Sent from Petguide.com Free App

David Winners 05-07-2014 05:19 PM

Just wanted to add:

The glue in tennis balls is corrosive to the enamel on the dog's teeth. If you are going to let the dog keep a ball for any length of time, I would recommend something safer like a Kong ball.

Amurphy26 05-07-2014 05:30 PM

Thanks David. Breagha's absolute favourite are Kong balls. I like the bigger size, safer for when she's catching them. We stopped using actual tennis balls a while ago. Mostly because I worried about her choking but I had also read they weren't good for their teeth.


Sent from Petguide.com Free App

Amurphy26 05-07-2014 05:48 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Attachment 207458Attachment 207466

The dogs and the ball.


Sent from Petguide.com Free App

Castlemaid 05-07-2014 06:07 PM

Great pics! Looks like a wonderful place to run and play ball.


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:07 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.3.2