The Administrator from the Great White North, eh?
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern British Columbia
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.
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Keeta BH, OB1, TR1, AD
Rottweiler/Hairy Dog mix?? 2004-2015