How are we supposed to play ball and avoid injury? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 11-19-2012, 04:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How are we supposed to play ball and avoid injury?

I have been reading about GSDs getting ACL tears and even getting mortally injured from jumping after a ball.

I avoided the frisbee because it encouraged jumping, yet I am wondering if how I play with Hans is risky. Sometimes the ball does bounce, and he does skid a lot, to the point that he has callouses on the backs of his feet.

How high is too high, when it comes to jumping, and how are you supposed to play ball without risking injury?

Hans is tired - YouTube
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I was talking to Carolina about that one day. I think the bottom line is to not throw the ball so far that they are at top speed when they stop and pay attention to the surface. Jax was on wet grass when she tore hers.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was talking to Carolina about that one day. I think the bottom line is to not throw the ball so far that they are at top speed when they stop and pay attention to the surface. Jax was on wet grass when she tore hers.
He loves that! I am so sad it has to stop. When you get a dog you think about playing ball and frisbee. This definitely will put a damper on the fun.

And I will definitely stop playing on wet grass, too.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Why do you have to stop? Keep it long and the tosses short so he's not at full speed or jumping and that should lessen the chance. The doc told me the majority of ACL's are caused by frisbee's, balls, CATS, SQUIRRELS...it's the sudden take off and stop that cause it also. We can't stick them in a box and keep them safe...though my wallet strongly suggests that option!
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I meant that he usually runs at full speed and loves it.
The YouTube vid is taken at the end when he is already tired, which is why he was not running very fast.

I am thinking flirt pole is risky, too? All those sudden direction changes.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Flirt pole should be fine. It's sudden starts, stops and landing wrong at a high speed.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was wondering about that whole thing myself when I saw him slide and somersaulting before taking possession of the ball. I find the flirt pole scary and injury prone so I am not using it any longer. It looks more doable for terrier types to me.
The way I solve this issue is to have him on a sit or down stay, throw the ball and give him the OK to fetch it once the ball is not moving any longer. WD is less intense that way; I think because he knows where the ball is. It looks way better controlled , at least with him.
Another way: sit or down stay, throw the ball or hide it yourself, distract him with another command so he loses sight of the ball/toy and let him search for it.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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With my dogs I always make sure that the toy has stopped moving before they get there. This avoids the sudden stops and twisting going for the ball. Don't mean to freak you out but my aussie died a few months ago playing ball with Odin. They side swiped eachother, she tumbled and broke her neck. I am VERY careful now when we play ball. I almost always throw the toy up a hill so that they don't have so much speed on the pick up and they NEVER go after toys together. Or your can go with what Wolfy dog suggested, have them sit and wait for a release. I did it that way for about the first 6 weeks after keeper died. Now it's mostly uphill throws cause I'm too lazy to make them wait
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Talking with my trainer about this very subject, she suggested having a pile of toys and releasing the dog after you've thrown a ball into the pile/creates hunt drive and still keeps the dog in 'fetch mode'....much safer than air launching.

So sorry, KristiM, about you losing Keeper....what a tragedy
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
Talking with my trainer about this very subject, she suggested having a pile of toys and releasing the dog after you've thrown a ball into the pile/creates hunt drive and still keeps the dog in 'fetch mode'....much safer than air launching.

So sorry, KristiM, about you losing Keeper....what a tragedy
Thanks

We do a lot of find it games too, I find that my dogs (one more than the other lol) actually find this MORE stimulating than fetch. I find that they are more tuckered out after as well because there is also some mental stimulation.

I used to think people were crazy being so paranoid about injuring their dogs playing. Unfortunately I found out the hard way that playing these games with our high drive dogs is very dangerous.
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