Ball Obsession

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Ball Obsession

This is a discussion on Ball Obsession within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; M Golden Retriever loves his ball, to the point of obsessing over them. I take him to the dog park almost every day. I am ...

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Old 02-26-2009, 11:33 PM
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Ball Obsession

M Golden Retriever loves his ball, to the point of obsessing over them. I take him to the dog park almost every day. I am trying to get him to become more social and play with the other dogs at the park. As soon as he is in there, he goes for a ball (as there are several balls just laying around usually) and will carry it around, pick a spot to hang out, go find more balls, and bring them back to his spot. He becomes very antisocial when he does this. There have been incidences of him becoming aggressive because of it. He will collect every ball in the park and lay with them. If I take balls away from him he will usually stand there and bark, whine, and stare at me.
I have been having a little success in trying to stop this obsession. Every time he goes for ball I tell him to drop it. If he does not drop it, I make him sit, take the ball from him, and toss it away. Recently he avoids grabbing the balls, he will just sniff them and move on, occasionally picking one up, but he will drop them when told to. He has been interacting and playing with other dogs now more and more, and appears to be more mentally balanced. But sometimes he will still be very persistent with anxiety about obtaining a ball.
I will let him have ball time outside of the dog park. I will throw it for him outside on days we do not go to the dog park. Is that hurting or helping his ball obsession problem?
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Old 03-01-2009, 05:09 PM
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I have a dog like this. I reaaaally feel your pain.

I to, had finally had enough with all this ballballballball crap so we decided to make playing fetch alot more structured.

This is what I did. Maybe it will work for you.

No more free access to tennis balls. If we do play its the same ball/ same place every time.

She must bring it back completely or the game ends.

She must sit/down/touch occasionally through the game (som'thing simple that your dog reaaally knows) or the game ends.

When I end the game I don't remove the ball (this is important) I simply remove my attention. You can turn around. Or even walk away.

YOu don't want to take the ball away if you can help it. Som'times this can make the dog begin to guard the ball from you and other dogs.
They can do that because they learn that in the past when you approach him you take the ball away so he feels the need to protect it from you.

There is som'thing called an extinction burst (google it) your dog might begin to throw a raging fit about the fact that you will no longer throw the ball. This might occur once. Or many times over a week or so (depends on the dog) once its over...its over. Then the dog can go on with his life.

the point is...no matter how much whining/barking etc etc. Dont throw it. But dont take it away either. Taking it away will just make the dog fixate on where is it??????where is it??? or go get another ball. Instead, your going to teach him....we don't play ball at this park no matter how many balls there are.

You'll have to be diligent at the dog park because you now have to keep other people from throwing it too (my biggest issue, because people WILL ignore you and do it anyway)

Anyways. Hope that helps or gives you a few ideas. Good luck.

Crios



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Old 03-01-2009, 06:50 PM
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Thank you so much for the helpful information!
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:16 PM
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your welcome! Be sure to update us all.



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Old 03-05-2009, 05:58 PM
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Well he is catching on quick. He rarely even goes and sniffs the balls anymore, he will just walk right past them now and his interacting and playing more with the other dogs. Its so nice to see him playing with other dogs and enjoying himself now. I keep a ball in my bag case I decide to throw it for him outside the dog park and he will sniff the bag during the walk knowing the ball is in there. I just ignore it and wait to throw the ball until he is calm and his mind is not on getting the ball.

Unfortunately.....he had picked up a new habit......a very disgusting one at that. He has been eating poop. As soon as we went outside for our walk he immediately went for a pile of diarrhea (I assume it was from a dog) and began to chow down. I was absolutely stunned. I grabbed him a made him lay down and told him how bad he was. I thought that was the end of it. Then at the dog park, some dog threw up. Prozak ran over to it like someone was ringing a dinner bell. I did the same thing except I was a tad rougher with him this time. I would not let him get up. I made him stay down until he stayed without getting up for a full 5 minutes. And then we left. I do not understand why he is doing this. He never ate poop or vomit, not even as a pup. He is a very smart dog and I hate that he is do something so idiotic. Ugh! I brushed his teeth like 3 times when we got home. He just got off anibiotics for a bacterial infection...I hope he dosent catch anything.
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Old 03-05-2009, 06:05 PM
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Hahah Im sorry i can't help but laugh at the poop eating story.

Glad the ball obsession is dwindling. It just gets easier as time goes on. They defineltly "relapse" if you get a stranger who doesn't know the rules and throws the ball. But it gets easier to stop each time.

If poo eating becomes a habit I can walk you through getting rid of that too. :P



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