Toy fixation issue needs fixing

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Toy fixation issue needs fixing

This is a discussion on Toy fixation issue needs fixing within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi all, I have a 6 month old Border collie that seems to have gotten a bit of a Toy fixation. If I even look ...

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Old 10-01-2018, 02:11 AM
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Toy fixation issue needs fixing

Hi all, I have a 6 month old Border collie that seems to have gotten a bit of a Toy fixation. If I even look at his toy while he is eating then he'll drop the food and run to the spot where he stands ready to catch the thrown toy (toy catching is what he lives for).

This has become an issue because this is all he ever wants at all times of the day, it is also annoying because getting him to bring the toy back to me, not dropping it half way, is extremely hard and mostly doesn't do it anyways no matter how much excitement or encouragement I use.

My current thoughts are to completely stop all "toy" activities for now, but that begs the question: "what on earth must I do with him otherwise?" I play hide and seek with him but I'm running out of spots slowly and chase him around for his toy. I can do some more training but I'd like some input on what tricks and manners people train their pups at 6 months old.

So basically to sum up: What games do you all play with your dogs, how do you keep them busy and any other suggestions that any of you might have?

Thanks I'm advance for answers.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:39 AM
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My dog chases balloons around, we fill them up just half full & put a string on the end. Sometimes tie them to the cupboard & she pushes it up with her nose heaps then pulls it off. She carries them around aswel & shakes them. She even thinks its funny to bite & pop them. Just make sure you remove them straight away once popped as they become a choking hazard. She also likes bubbles, squeaky toys, all types of balls, she pushes them around with her feet & nose & drops them off furniture then goes & gets them. Balls that treats fall out of when moved around are good too.
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:28 PM
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Have you done any training with him? Exercising his mind can tire him out. Does he sit, down, come when called? You can train him to do tricks, give him something to do besides chasing a toy. Border Collies are very smart and need different things to do. How about Agility training, Obedience, Rally or catching a disc?
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Kyllobernese View Post
Have you done any training with him? Exercising his mind can tire him out. Does he sit, down, come when called? You can train him to do tricks, give him something to do besides chasing a toy. Border Collies are very smart and need different things to do. How about Agility training, Obedience, Rally or catching a disc?
Yes I've done some basic training at the training school with him, he does the basic sit and lie down and comes when called. What kind of tricks and things would you suggest are good for a 6mo pup?
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:26 AM
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My dog chases balloons around, we fill them up just half full & put a string on the end. Sometimes tie them to the cupboard & she pushes it up with her nose heaps then pulls it off. She carries them around aswel & shakes them. She even thinks its funny to bite & pop them. Just make sure you remove them straight away once popped as they become a choking hazard. She also likes bubbles, squeaky toys, all types of balls, she pushes them around with her feet & nose & drops them off furniture then goes & gets them. Balls that treats fall out of when moved around are good too.
The balloon idea sounds fun, will try it out maybe with my pup. I had a ball that could take treats inside but my pup figured that out immediately and then wanted to do something else 😕 Too smart!
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Old 10-05-2018, 07:56 AM
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You might want to put away the toys your dog fixates on when you're not actively using them to play with your dog. At least from what I've seen this is not an uncommon issue in dogs with higher prey drives. You can actually create this behavior inadvertently- playing fetch all the time and leaving balls lying around for the dog to have whenever it wants one.
There is a silver lining to this though......you can use the ball as a reward for doing other things. My advice is not to fight it. Use it to your advantage. You've got an item your dog will probably do anything to have. Right there is your source of motivation for other training.
I use a ball and tug toy as rewards for doing what I want in obedience training. Some dogs perform better better for toy and play rewards than for food rewards ( I have one like this ). It also helps the dog develop self control. It's not easy for a ball obsessed dog to hold a down while you're walking around bouncing its ball and the dog knows it doesn't get to have the ball if it breaks its down/stay. Teaching the dog to maintain composure while excited.
The dog I have now- as a puppy would shriek like a demented monkey if we played fetch with our other dog within his sight. Thats how much he wanted that ball. He's not yet 2 yrs old but at this point he will hold a down next to my feet while I play fetch with the other dog. He understands now that if he controls himself and does what he's asked, he KNOWS he's gonna get that ball as his reward. Ball gets put away when training is done. Dog starts to understand it's about the human not just the ball.
Obedience training is fun for the dog, its a mental workout as well as physical, and your dog is learning while having fun. Win win for both of you.......
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:46 PM
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just to clarify, my dog learnt to play her own games by herself when I left her toys out when I'm in the same room but busy on the computer. I just didnt play & told her you get it, you get it, good girl & she knew what get it meant. She still never plays with toys when I'm out though & I play games everyday with her & her toys. There's a ball my friend had that actually only spits treats out randomly as it rolls. The dog cant get them by licking etc so it does last quite a while. My dog has recently got a jumping activation ball & its so funny watching her chase it around. She pulled the bumps of it, so I've left them off & now it spins round really fast.
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:53 PM
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I dont see anything wrong with a dog who loves toys & plays all day with them. I think the only issue is when it gets anoying when they expect you to play with them all the time & you cant. I love seeing my dog playing cos she's happy. If she's happy - I'm happy. More of a worry when a dog wont play with their toys & are sad & depressed. Google 50 tricks you can do with your dog & a list will come up.
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:22 PM
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The problem with removing the toys is that this what I call 'healthy obsession' will very likely be replaced by an 'unhealthy obsession' like whining scratching biting & destructive behaviour as the dog gets bored & anxious - which is much worse.Even self harm, feet chewing etc Also my dog sees her toys as HER things, she puts them all in her bed & it makes her feel secure, taking them away would definately upset her & make her feel insecure. She gets very distraut if she cant find a fave toy, which I usually find she's put inside my bed when she's gotten in with me. If I put her toys in a drawer, she sits next to it & cries for it.
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Sthelena View Post
You might want to put away the toys your dog fixates on when you're not actively using them to play with your dog. At least from what I've seen this is not an uncommon issue in dogs with higher prey drives. You can actually create this behavior inadvertently- playing fetch all the time and leaving balls lying around for the dog to have whenever it wants one.
There is a silver lining to this though......you can use the ball as a reward for doing other things. My advice is not to fight it. Use it to your advantage. You've got an item your dog will probably do anything to have. Right there is your source of motivation for other training.
I use a ball and tug toy as rewards for doing what I want in obedience training. Some dogs perform better better for toy and play rewards than for food rewards ( I have one like this ). It also helps the dog develop self control. It's not easy for a ball obsessed dog to hold a down while you're walking around bouncing its ball and the dog knows it doesn't get to have the ball if it breaks its down/stay. Teaching the dog to maintain composure while excited.
The dog I have now- as a puppy would shriek like a demented monkey if we played fetch with our other dog within his sight. Thats how much he wanted that ball. He's not yet 2 yrs old but at this point he will hold a down next to my feet while I play fetch with the other dog. He understands now that if he controls himself and does what he's asked, he KNOWS he's gonna get that ball as his reward. Ball gets put away when training is done. Dog starts to understand it's about the human not just the ball.
Obedience training is fun for the dog, its a mental workout as well as physical, and your dog is learning while having fun. Win win for both of you.......
Oh yes, little Roscoe (the pup) is also VERY toy driven, he likes food but toys are what he lives for so I understand completely. Come to think about it, the only way we got him to walk on a leash was by using a toy as a reward... I should probably get back into doing that like you said because it works quite well. At the moment we just reduced the toy throwing by 80% basically and it's a lot better already. Thanks for the good answer, I'll take some time to think about how to do about everything.
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