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Breaking a dog’s ball obsession: Day 28

For those of you who are sick of hearing about this crazy retriever and his ball, our challenge is almost over. Ace (not pictured) is far from cured of his obsession, but at least we are making progress in the right direction.

I took Ace to the dog park on Friday. I went early, hoping there wouldn’t be any other dogs there. Instead, there were three dogs and one of the labs was even playing fetch. I was worried Ace was going to steal the ball and bring it to the man doing the throwing, but he didn’t. So far, I haven’t had to explain to anyone, “Um, please don’t throw that ball for my dog. I’m trying to teach him there is a life beyond tennis balls.”

It helps when other dogs are overly friendly, because that type of dog is pretty good at getting Ace to play. There was a shepherd-looking mix that kept running over to Ace and he got Ace to follow him around a little. I wish Ace would’ve played more, but the good news is he did not become obsessed with a ball the whole time (only about 15 minutes).

The best sign of progress so far at the dog park is Ace will smell or see a ball, slowly prance over to it and then look at me instead of picking it up. It’s like he’s thinking, “Can I touch this?” Over the last month, I’ve always told him to “leave it” when he finds a ball at the dog park. I’d like to be able to play fetch with him there eventually, but at this point I want him to get used to playing without a tennis ball.

After this challenge I am thinking of buying him a new case of three tennis balls. He deserves it, and it will force me to keep working with him on this issue.


Tuesday 7th of October 2008

Amazing progress in such a short time period!

castocreations hzk

Tuesday 30th of September 2008

I think your progress is amazing. I wish I were so patient with my dogs. lol

I want to be able to teach Timber to walk properly on a leash without pulling me off my feet. We've resorted to the gentle leader. :(

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 28th of September 2008

Yeah, you're right. At least if he stole another dog's ball he would be playing with other dogs.

Saint Lover

Sunday 28th of September 2008

If she would have stole the ball.. it wouldnt have been the end of the world... That is actually a very popular and super fun retriever game. Chase the dog that has the ball (it might just drop it and one must be there to pick it up)... Hera is the queen of that game.

I am glad you have been able to make such great progress with him. Finding a good balance is so difficult to do and something that most lab owners struggle with most of their lab's life. You have such a wonderful relationship with Ace and it is great that you can use it to his and your benefit.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 28th of September 2008

Thank you!