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.
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?