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Dog obsessed with golf balls

Well I can add a new obsession to Ace’s list – golf balls. Nothing frustrates me more than when my dog is so focused on a ball that he won’t respond to the most basic commands like come, heel, sit.

So last week while Josh was hitting golf balls in the back yard (we’re fortunate to live along a large field), I took Ace out with us for a serious on-leash training session.

I always tell people to work with the problem rather than pretend the problem is not there. When a dog is aggressive around bikes, she needs to be around more bikes. If a dog is obsessive about cats, she needs to meet more cats.

dog obsessed with retrieving

Ace and I worked on some basics – sit and stay with our backs to the golfer, recalls, leave it and heeling. Basically all I was asking him to do was ignore Josh, the golf balls and the golf club.

I encouraged eye contact, focus on me and self control. When Ace became fixated, I simply walked him away and asked him to sit and stay with his back to Josh until he relaxed. Looking at me rather than turning to look at the golf balls was a huge challenge for Ace.

We’ve let Ace retrieve golf balls before – a useful job for him. But he’s also so obsessive that he won’t dodge a swinging club or give the golfer any space. Not only is this dangerous but it’s extremely annoying.

That’s why I worked on training with a leash and our old friend the pinch collar. It was a good training session. Ace was successful (for the most part), and I had the satisfaction of working with my dog.

What issues does your dog have that you need to remind yourself to work on?

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 18th of September 2009

Ben, I hope you are joking.

Although this might have worked with your dog, I do not suggest encouraging a dog to chase trucks and cars! Most dogs love to run and chase and this will only show the dog that chasing trucks is fun.

Rewarding this kind of behavior is dangerous because at any time the dog could bolt after a car and either get hit or cause an accident.


Friday 18th of September 2009

To Ross, who's dog lunges out at loud cars and trucks.

This problem is easy and FUN to fix (my dog was the same way). just strap on some roller blades and wait for a loud car/truck/motorcycle to go past and when it does encourage your dog to chase after it with every bit of strength and speed he/she can. enjoy the ride (please use a harness so the collar doesn't choke the dog while he is pulling you). pretty soon your dog will realize that catching up the the car/truck/bike is impossible and not worth all that effort. Have fun while it lasts, if you take your dog for a walk every day I give it about a week before your dog looks at you like your crazy when you ask him to chase a car.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 30th of August 2009

Oh, asking a question in the comments like you did is fine.

You are right about running a dog with such a tight collar. Imagine how uncomfortable that would be for the dog.


Sunday 30th of August 2009

Thanks - I think it could be lethal to run a dog with a tight collar on. That is what I was told in Dog Obedience training. Especially a Golden Retriever whose heck is normally supposed to swell quite a bit when running hard. However can't find any info online that supports this. Also - the dog is only 18 months old, healthy and lost 8 pounds in the 12 days he was away. I just wanted to find them a very good home. I think she just wants to breed them now as they were very expensive dogs - I did not give her the registration papers.


Sunday 30th of August 2009

P.S. - I have never used a blog - don't really know how to present a new question!