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Old 04-14-2014, 11:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ball problems

Hey guys I have a little problem with my girl Amelia. She will be 6 months old this coming week. She had a bit of an obsession with balls. Everytime we go to the dog park she will go find her a tennis ball and carry it around with her. It normally isn't a problem until this past week. She is now getting possessive and when she lays down with the ball if another dog comes up to her she will growl and sometimes snap at them. Never biting just snapping(she never does this with people just other dogs) whenever we take the ball away her focus is completely on the ball. She will not keep her eyes off it. We don't want to take her balls away because they are her favorite but we need this to stop because it is unacceptable behavior. Any advice you have is greatly appreciated. She is a very well behaved dog and I'm not sure why this started all of a sudden. Thank you in advance for your help.


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Old 04-14-2014, 11:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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And here she is with her ball like always lol


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Old 04-14-2014, 01:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd pick up the balls at the dog park or not take her there at all (I know how many toys they have scattered about. My dog almost got attacked at a dog park when I took her once as a puppy over something your dog does. Some dog had a ball and my girl sniffed him and he ran her off til she was screaming. We never went back there.

I have to be careful with water because my dog likes to set up camp at a water dish when she is tired and scare off all the dogs that come close and it's inappropriate...so if we're in a situation with multiple dogs and a water dish I either keep my dog on a leash or call her away every time she walks close to the water. she can come drink from her own bowl I bring.

Find a way to prevent her from getting a ball and trying to hoard it, you guys can play ball all you want when other dogs aren't around
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Hey guys I have a little problem with my girl Amelia. She will be 6 months old this coming week. She had a bit of an obsession with balls. Everytime we go to the dog park she will go find her a tennis ball and carry it around with her. It normally isn't a problem until this past week. She is now getting possessive and when she lays down with the ball if another dog comes up to her she will growl and sometimes snap at them.
First of all to tell you - it is not somthing negative, but absolutely opposite - such interest in balls is very positive character in GSD, and many GSD owners would simply envy you that you have a dog with working capabilities. Take her ball in your hand and make it the major tool in training for absolutely everything: heel off leash, walking backwards, search, commands by gesture from distance, I cannot name any command which wouldn't include throwing the ball for your dog as a reward instead of food treats. The ball becomes a conditioned reinforcer. Being ball mad and posessive of toys are necessary qualities for Schutzhund sport dog. High interest in balls is indication of a high prey drive, and posessiveness indicate at the ability to hold it ( at one moment in Schutz training the ball on the rope is swapped for a sleeve which your dog finally comes into posession). So, if you didn't consider Schutzhund club, I highly recommend you to, at least, evaluate your puppy there. It is a lot of fun and a lot of self-satisfaction if your dog turns a successful player.
Your problem - is her conflict over balls with other dogs. I can reassure you, it is not something difficult to train out. Everything you have to do is - ask her to remain in down position ( command "Down" every time she reveals such behaviour) , remove ball from her mouth and give it into the mouth of that dog she growls at. It works as a sort of punishment when you give the ball to other dog, no other words required except "Down" command. She should remain in down position until the ball is back into your hands, and praise her for being obedient by throwing the ball for her a bit away from other dogs. That fact that she just growls - is her age, if you don't train her now she will start to bite later. Training comes through repetition, finally she shouldn't react in this way, but rather be quick to fetch it before other dog does it. Of course, the playground involves many different situations, but she should learn that her negative response to the other dog's attempt to deprive her from the prey object (ball) always ends with the loss and boring down position. On other hand - that should be every decent doggy park or playground ethics - the dog should chase the ball thrown by the owner, and not to chase other people's and their dogs' toys. Try to be diplomatic and explain that to other owners, because toys often cause dog fights.

Last edited by David Taggart; 04-14-2014 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have never been to a dog park but I can envision a nasty scenario being played out when toys or treats are brought out at a dog park with all kinds of dogs roaming around.

I guess if you have to frequent a dog park leave the ball behind - this WILL cause a fight. I have no idea how to train her on this when you have no control over the other dogs?

At home - is the ball yours or hers? When Rusty was a pup I would engage him with toys / play then put away when we were done. At 4 years old I could care less if he has his ball - he usually sleeps with it but I can easily take it from him if needed.

...she's also very pretty!
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I visit one doggy park close by sometimes, there are Border Collies, Ausies, Labs, Boxes and other high prey drive dogs. All of them are chasing balls, but no one dog interferes with other dogs, the dog should bring the ball to his owner and expect only him to throw it. People there educate newcomers with unexperienced puppies, they tell the newbie to recall his dog if that one tries to grab the ball which belongs to their dogs. The trouble is that people do not want to carry toys with them, many don't play with their dogs at the dog parks, they rather stay around and talk. Dog parks rarely work as a team where everyne comes for the sake of their animal companion and training good behaviour. That's why I always preferred a small group of friends of 2-3. If other people are ignorant to your polite words - better to find some other place to enjoy yourself with your puppy.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Taggart View Post
First of all to tell you - it is not somthing negative, but absolutely opposite - such interest in balls is very positive character in GSD, and many GSD owners would simply envy you that you have a dog with working capabilities. Take her ball in your hand and make it the major tool in training for absolutely everything: heel off leash, walking backwards, search, commands by gesture from distance, I cannot name any command which wouldn't include throwing the ball for your dog as a reward instead of food treats. The ball becomes a conditioned reinforcer. Being ball mad and posessive of toys are necessary qualities for Schutzhund sport dog. High interest in balls is indication of a high prey drive, and posessiveness indicate at the ability to hold it ( at one moment in Schutz training the ball on the rope is swapped for a sleeve which your dog finally comes into posession). So, if you didn't consider Schutzhund club, I highly recommend you to, at least, evaluate your puppy there. It is a lot of fun and a lot of self-satisfaction if your dog turns a successful player.
Your problem - is her conflict over balls with other dogs. I can reassure you, it is not something difficult to train out. Everything you have to do is - ask her to remain in down position ( command "Down" every time she reveals such behaviour) , remove ball from her mouth and give it into the mouth of that dog she growls at. It works as a sort of punishment when you give the ball to other dog, no other words required except "Down" command. She should remain in down position until the ball is back into your hands, and praise her for being obedient by throwing the ball for her a bit away from other dogs. That fact that she just growls - is her age, if you don't train her now she will start to bite later. Training comes through repetition, finally she shouldn't react in this way, but rather be quick to fetch it before other dog does it. Of course, the playground involves many different situations, but she should learn that her negative response to the other dog's attempt to deprive her from the prey object (ball) always ends with the loss and boring down position. On other hand - that should be every decent doggy park or playground ethics - the dog should chase the ball thrown by the owner, and not to chase other people's and their dogs' toys. Try to be diplomatic and explain that to other owners, because toys often cause dog fights.
Thank you everyone and trust me, we do use her ball obsession as a training method. and she doesn't growl all the time just every so often. I never take our own balls but they are everywhere at the park. As for the schutzhund, we haven't really thought about it but that is a good idea!! Thank you





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