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Discussion Starter #1
My 10 month old GSD female has recently started a very disrturbing behavior and I would like any suggestions/advice. She is normally a 'fraidy cat" - not very aggressive. In fact we have two yorkies who basically run the house and she in no way is ever aggressive toward them. I take her to the dog park where we have a game of "I throw the ball she gets it. Once she has it she keeps it in her mouth and won't release it except once in a great while then I throw it and we go through the same thing again. It is as though she fixates on her ball and rarely lets go. She doesn't interact with other dogs and when she gets water she drops the ball in the bowl and drinks and never lets the ball too far out of her reach. The other day as I was putting her leash on to go home she dropped her ball. About that time another dog walked up to check her out as he had just arrived at the park. As he came up my shepherd suddenly lunged at him growling and snapping. I think she was gaurding her ball. Anyway I pulled her away and went home. A few days later we are back at the park she is walking around with the ball in her mouth fetching once in a while when a little dog comes over to check her out like all of them do when they come to the park and she lunges and growls at him. Again I think she is protecting her ball but I need to know how to stop this behavior. In the past she just ignored the other dogs or walked off and sat down away from them. The park is great because she can run after the ball when she will let me throw it and even though she doesn't interact alot with the other dogs she is around them and I think that is socializing her to some degree. I would like to continue to go there but I can't have her doing this.Any thoughts?
 

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Simple issue. Not many dogs that have prey drive will allow strange dogs near their ball. This toy is of a very high value to her. You have two choices...

1. Don't bring the ball to the dog park, and she will not have anything to "guard".

or my favorite

2. Don't go to the dog park, and find another area to play ball and exercise your dog. I really dislike dog parks for young dogs and puppies anyway.
 

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something else you might want to consider is 'owning' the ball. this helped w/my possessive aggressive dog.

in other words, it's not her ball, it's YOUR ball. YOU decide when YOU will play with her with it, and YOU decide when play stops, and YOU also dictate when she brings it back to you. she needs to show appropriate behaviour for YOU to play with it with her.

i'd also work on her 'drop it' to get her returning the ball to you regularly. right now it sounds to me like she is controlling the ball and the situation, not you (not an expert, but that's how it comes across to me).

i taught teagan 'drop it' fairly quickly by always immediately throwing the ball once she gave it to me. giving me the ball meant fun! more chasing! she wants to give me the ball now, i don't even have to ask half the time
(previously i had been teasing her with the ball to try to get her excited - she's as excited if i immediately throw the ball, and it's more rewarding for her).

john covered the dog park stuff i think
 

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As an alternative to dog parks, try a vacant tennis court for fetch. If your dog plays "keep-away" tease her with a second ball. Throw the first ball, she retrieves, then pretend to throw the second-but wait until she drops the first to throw the second. After she understands, you can beckon her to bring the first ball closer and closer before you throw the second: voila fetch.
 

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Originally Posted By: jarnsomething else you might want to consider is 'owning' the ball. this helped w/my possessive aggressive dog.

in other words, it's not her ball, it's YOUR ball. YOU decide when YOU will play with her with it, and YOU decide when play stops, and YOU also dictate when she brings it back to you. she needs to show appropriate behaviour for YOU to play with it with her.

i'd also work on her 'drop it' to get her returning the ball to you regularly. right now it sounds to me like she is controlling the ball and the situation, not you (not an expert, but that's how it comes across to me).
I know all about this. I just went through it with Diesel, and now all of a sudden his heeling in drive is getting VERY nice. BUT, that is only if the dog was showing possessive behavior with the handler over the ball. Here, she is worried about that behavior with strange dogs, which I consider to be quite normal.
 

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Originally Posted By: MaryJaneAs an alternative to dog parks, try a vacant tennis court for fetch. If your dog plays "keep-away" tease her with a second ball. Throw the first ball, she retrieves, then pretend to throw the second-but wait until she drops the first to throw the second. After she understands, you can beckon her to bring the first ball closer and closer before you throw the second: voila fetch.
Just a note.....be careful with the tennis court idea. If you run a dog too much on that type of surface it can run the pads on their paws raw.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for the advice I think that another spot would be better. I was caught off gaurd because all of a sudden she started this I definitely think owning the ball is a smart thing thanks you all
 

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Discussion Starter #8
right you are she owns it in her mind so I need to take over good suggestion thanks these dogs are incredible and mine seems to constantly try something new just to get my stuff. thanks
 

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I do not go to the dog park but I do know the one by us has a rule regarding NO toys, balls to avoid such situations.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSD
Originally Posted By: jarnsomething else you might want to consider is 'owning' the ball. this helped w/my possessive aggressive dog.

in other words, it's not her ball, it's YOUR ball. YOU decide when YOU will play with her with it, and YOU decide when play stops, and YOU also dictate when she brings it back to you. she needs to show appropriate behaviour for YOU to play with it with her.

i'd also work on her 'drop it' to get her returning the ball to you regularly. right now it sounds to me like she is controlling the ball and the situation, not you (not an expert, but that's how it comes across to me).
I know all about this. I just went through it with Diesel, and now all of a sudden his heeling in drive is getting VERY nice. BUT, that is only if the dog was showing possessive behavior with the handler over the ball. Here, she is worried about that behavior with strange dogs, which I consider to be quite normal.
and i did have handler issues w/teagan. i was just thinking that if the OP 'owns' the ball, then she'll be the one who decides whether or not to get possessive....that it would reinforce the whole 'the leader makes decisions' thing.
 

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Originally Posted By: jarnand i did have handler issues w/teagan. i was just thinking that if the OP 'owns' the ball, then she'll be the one who decides whether or not to get possessive....that it would reinforce the whole 'the leader makes decisions' thing.
Even if your dog understands 100% that YOU own the ball that does not mean that they would let a strange dog take it. My two completely realize that the toys are mine, but if a strange dog tried to take a ball that I had thrown I'd be on the way to the vet. It would get very ugly very quickly. I would not trust the two of them together if I threw a ball with both of them outside. What I'm getting at is it's just a bad idea to play ball/tug/whatever with multiple dogs when the dogs are GSD's. There may be some dogs that can do this, but I have never owned one.
 

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Quote:Once she has it she keeps it in her mouth and won't release it except once in a great while then I throw it and we go through the same thing again
It IS an issue with possessiveness over the ball with the owner.

Until you can take the ball from her mouth without an issue AND have her drop it on command - do NOT take her and the ball to the dog park.

My rule is if it's in your mouth and I say Drop It - I do not care WHAT it is - you drop it.
 

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I agree with John on the difference in handler and a dog when it comes to toys.

I have two GSD's that I can play fetch with them, but only if the highest prized toy is not in the hard. If that toy is out there, you don't play ball because it causes problems and these two are best friends a male and a female.

I would prefer to have my GSD's warn other dogs not to take "their" toys.
 

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I believe if she gets away from the dog park then the issue will probably go away. When there are other dogs around to possibly steal the young bitche's toy before she can get to it after the owner throws it why would the dog want to give it up. I think you are asking a lot from a young female.
 
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