If you didn’t know before…I have a Black Lab/English Setter Mix named Ellie Mae. I absolutely LOVE her to death but with having an animal comes its challenges. One of the challenging aspects of my little girl is that she is ball obsessed.
Getting a Lab I knew that this was a likely habit that would come about. It can be frustrating at times but I knew what I had gotten myself into when this habit began.
Signs that you have a ball obsessed dog:
- When your dog sees a ball, nothing else matters. They become fixated on it and shows to be in a trance. Their eyes glaze over. Their body stiffens.
- Your dog may show no response to commands while a ball is present.
- The dog may put itself into danger by chasing a ball into a street.
- Your dog falls asleep with the ball in it’s mouth.
- Your dog will keep playing fetch even though exhaustion has set in & the dog will continue to play even if it hurts itself in the act.
- As soon as you get to the dog park your dog doesn’t interact with other dogs and instantly starts to search for a loose ball.
- They will do anything in their power to get to that ball including knocking down people, kids, & other dogs.
What can you do to help break this obsession and protect your dog?
- Allow ball play inside the house without fetching. Being around them 24/7 will desensitize them and will lessen the obsession. If they are starting to chew on the balls it can harm them. In this case limit ball time to certain periods. In extreme cases. You may need to take the ball away if their obsessiveness is too much.
- Expend some of their pent-up energy by taking them for a walk and making sure they are in a calm state before playing fetch with them.
- Build solid obedience skills from the beginning. Making sure that no matter what or who is around them they will always listen to the commands “Come”, “Sit” “Stay”, “Drop It” and “Leave It”.
- Know when to stop playing. Dogs can get heat exhaustion, get sore or hurt themselves from stopping and starting motions, and rip up their pads from running too much.
- Limit the amount of time you play fetch and train your dog to know when you are done. Use phrases like “No More”, I’m Done”, or “That’s Enough”.
Have you experienced this with your dog? What have you done to minimize the obsession? Is your dog or other animals obsessed with anything else?