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Signs of Ball Possessiveness


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#1 bradling

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 04:48 PM

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For those wondering, Shadow has been doing great and has made a lot of progress on recall and loose leash walking.  She's now about 4.5 months old and has just about the best personality I could have asked for.  She's at daycare with ~3-5 other dogs during the day, and has no aggression problems there.  She'll go and take toys or bones when the others have left them and horde them on her bed, but she doesn't show any signs of aggression with the other pups.

 

Recently I started playing fetch with her in the creek at the dog park; I think she's already obsessed with it...  She immediately wants to go down to the creek when we get there, and when we do go down she'll turn and stare at me like..."Throw it!"  Before when I'd throw her ball it'd be in a field without other dogs around.  She completely ignores the other dogs while we're playing fetch.  One dog really wanted to play a few days ago and she started getting annoyed by it because she was busy!  Since then she's started to air nip towards some dogs that get in her personal space while we're playing fetch.  She hasn't bit any of them yet, but I'd really like to help her chill out a little, if possible, while we're doing this 'important task'.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 



#2 LauraV

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:44 PM

I wouldn't play fetch every time you go there. She can't be the one telling you when it's time to play. You have to be the one who initiates it. Stop bringing the ball and only reintroduce it when she stops going straight to the creek and looking to play with it. That should break the habit. Then only bring it once in awhile. If she starts getting nippy, the game stops and I would leave. That should associate, you nip while we play, we leave.

#3 highway61

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:49 PM

My four year old male is the same way with dogs he doesn't know. If we're out in an open field playing fetch his focus is on the ball, not play with other dogs he doesn't know. He's fine with strange dogs that approach him slow and soft but if they come at him fast he'll flash his teeth or snap. This I believe comes from a place of fear, not confidence so I do my best to protect and keep him distanced from dogs he doesn't already know. You might need to do the same. 



#4 urge to herd

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 10:15 PM

Border collies are very 'personal space' protective. And joking aside, I think they are just wired to be team & task oriented, so fetching a ball is very like work to them.

 

I stopped taking Gibbs to my local dog park for fetch because it just made him nervous. He very appropriately tried to let other dogs know he wasn't interested in playing with them. And with lots  more people coming early in the mornings during summer months, I just gave up, and found a couple other venues.

 

You might be able to 'soften' her a little bit by keeping an eye on other dogs approaching her and intervening for her. As far as teaching her to be more accepting of other dogs interfering with her activities, I wouldn't hold out much hope. Perhaps others with more experience might have ideas, but none of my border collies so far has taken kindly to their games of fetch being interrupted.

 

Ruth & Gibbs



#5 teresaserrano

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 03:34 AM

Tess also dislikes other dogs bothering her games with me. She's doing something important there, she has no patience for silly dogs wanting to play.

Like Ruth says, Tess also isn't able to learn to react diferently. It's who she is and very much a border thing. I send other dogs away and don't let them bother her, or otherwise stop the game and put away the toy when I see a dog coming. But I don't expect her to be friendly to dogs interupting her play with me. After all, one of the reasons I wanted a bc was this incredible orientation towards team and task. Border collies amazing characteristics come with a price.

 

I wouldn't call it ball possessiveness (it could be, of course, there's no saying without seeing it), But it sounds like the tipical border absolute concentration on what he's doing with his person, and that's got not much to do with ball possessiveness.


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#6 waffles

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 07:12 AM

My personal opinion is that dog parks are best for calm activities such as socializing with other dogs, walking, exploring, sniffing and so on.

Highly intense and focused activities like fetch just don't seem to work well in a group of strange dogs from all backgrounds who don't know each other. I would find another place to play fetch and use the dog park for calm strolling, exploring or to let her play with other dogs at their own pace. I don't see this as possessive ball behavior either. Just wrong setting/place for that kind of activity.

#7 Shandula

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:03 AM

More of the same, but Heidi also does not like dogs disturbing her games of fetch. I think it's partly a little Resource guarding of the ball, but even when they are sniffing her/trying to initiate play she'll ignore for a bit and then tell them to bugger off.

#8 D'Elle

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 09:43 AM

My Jester was very serious about fetching whatever was thrown. He was convinced that it was his life's work, and some had to get done every day no matter what. He had zero patience with other dogs getting in his way while he was working on fetch. I never once considered this to be a problem that required intervention on my part.

 

I agree with others who have said that dog parks are not the place to play such games, especially with a border collie. It only leads to trouble.

 

When I brought in a foster dog, sometimes they would try to play with Jes or get the ball or frisbee when he was fetching. He always told them off in no uncertain terms. I never interfered, and very soon the other dog learned either to leave Jes alone when he was fetching or else developed his or her own version of the game which did not interfere with Jester. The latter is what Kit did and they played side-by-side very happily in this way for many years. 

 

I suggest you don't play fetch with him when other dogs are around in the park. Find a different place, with no dogs, where you can throw something for your Shadow. Your yard would do fine if you have one. Jester didn't care how much space he had.....if you threw something three feet he was just as happy. I bet Shadow would feel the same way. Let the dog park be for other activities if you want to go there.

 

I personally am not a fan of dog parks at all and would never take my dog(s) to one.


D'Elle

and family.

Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger

 

 

Mydogs12-2013Smaller.jpg
"You gonna throw that?" --Jester:  2001 - June 24 2016. Remembered with much love.
"I'm grouchier than you are" --Kit

"I love everyone!" -- Boo

(Boing! Boing! Boing!)--Digger

And not pictured, Benjamin the cat, who thinks he is a small border collie with superpowers.

 

 

 


#9 urge to herd

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 11:31 AM

I echo what D'Elle says about 'side by side' vs. 'interrupting me doing my job'. My pack of 3, all at the Bridge now, had no problem at all playing fetch within the pack. Each dog had their own ball, and would follow its trajectory as it flew out of the chuckit. The few times I actually saw a dog pick up what I knew to be a ball thrown for another dog, the 'that's not MY ball' would get spit out in haste, and the search for the correct ball resumed.

 

But the whole interrupting thing was Just Not Done, at least by my border collies, once they had learned they each had their own ball to chase.

 

Ruth & Gibbs



#10 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 12:11 AM

attachicon.gifcreek.jpg
For those wondering, Shadow has been doing great and has made a lot of progress on recall and loose leash walking.  She's now about 4.5 months old and has just about the best personality I could have asked for.  She's at daycare with ~3-5 other dogs during the day, and has no aggression problems there.  She'll go and take toys or bones when the others have left them and horde them on her bed, but she doesn't show any signs of aggression with the other pups.

 

Recently I started playing fetch with her in the creek at the dog park; I think she's already obsessed with it...  She immediately wants to go down to the creek when we get there, and when we do go down she'll turn and stare at me like..."Throw it!"  Before when I'd throw her ball it'd be in a field without other dogs around.  She completely ignores the other dogs while we're playing fetch.  One dog really wanted to play a few days ago and she started getting annoyed by it because she was busy!  Since then she's started to air nip towards some dogs that get in her personal space while we're playing fetch.  She hasn't bit any of them yet, but I'd really like to help her chill out a little, if possible, while we're doing this 'important task'.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

I'll mainly echo what others have already said.  You get to say when - and if - you play fetch, not her. And I think playing fetch around dogs who are not part of her family is not a good idea.

 

If I were you, I'd just skip playing ball if any other dogs are anywhere near. Don't even get the ball out of the car. Border collies are very focused on whatever they think their "job" is and interruptions can lead to the snappish behavior you see. I think it would just be easier on everyone involved if you simply avoid the situation entirely and let her be among other dogs without the ball in the equation. Time enough to play fetch when other dogs are nowhere in the vicinity.

My two cents' worth, anyhow.  :)

 


You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera

#11 bradling

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 12:50 PM

Thanks everyone for your advice so far.  Much of what you said I kind of suspected based on her behavior and my understanding of the breed's desire to work.  At first I figured oh she just wants to do her job uninterrupted, but was then a little concerned when a friend (unfamiliar with the breed) was telling me her nipping like this was a bad sign...

 

We went to the dog park the other day; no ball and no creek this time.  She did go stand by the gate waiting to be let down to play, but quickly listened each time I told her we weren't going.  We'll probably keep ball play to a minimal there now, and only when I can make sure she's not interrupted by others.  Thanks again.



#12 pineapple

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 10:28 AM

It was a surprise to find that Ben, my almost blind rescue enjoys fetch. He follows the sound of the ball as much as the shape. He also likes to get close to my feet and dives this way or that to intercept it if I kick it (I thought about setting up a little goal with kiddies skittles). He is extremely focussed and takes it all very seriously indeed. Other dogs don't bother him. Maybe because he is so fixated and doesn't see them anyway! That said my neighbour has a ball obsessed cocker spaniel which wouldn't hesitate to try to grab the ball so I wouldn't throw it while he is around.

Ben is a bit like Shadow in his obsession. If I have the ball with me, that is all he is bothered about. So I decided it would be better not to always take it. That way, he takes more interest in his surroundings and I avoid being viewed as his well trained human.  :rolleyes:



#13 Macsmum

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 02:16 AM

I see similar traits in my boy Mac, we occasionally play fetch at a dog park that is very close to my home. Literally the second Mac is inside the gate he is in crouched 'eye' position waiting for me to throw the ball. When he is playing (or working perhaps!) he shows absolutely no interest in other dogs and does get annoyed if they try to play while he is finding the ball. Interestingly if the other dogs are also chasing the ball he doesn't seem to mind as they are not bothering him! He has always been very timid around dogs he doesn't know so I actually think it has been quite good for him because when he is so focused on the ball he doesn't get so worried about all the other dogs around and it's helping him to realise other dogs aren't all bad. Will keep an eye out for any guarding behaviours though.



#14 D'Elle

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 10:05 AM

Pineapple, why don't you try playing "soccer" with your blind dog?

 

It involves playing fetch with a large ball, even a beach ball, and having the dog retrieve it by pushing it along with his snout. You can even set up a little obstacle course for him to push the ball through to make it more exciting for him.

 

The person who adopted Kelso, my most  "famous" foster dog, plays this game with him and I have seen video of him doing it, It is clear that he loves the game!

 

You could also try the same thing you are doing, whereby you boot the ball along with your foot, and he pushes it back, or farther along, only using a huge ball that he can see.

 

Just an idea.


D'Elle

and family.

Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger

 

 

Mydogs12-2013Smaller.jpg
"You gonna throw that?" --Jester:  2001 - June 24 2016. Remembered with much love.
"I'm grouchier than you are" --Kit

"I love everyone!" -- Boo

(Boing! Boing! Boing!)--Digger

And not pictured, Benjamin the cat, who thinks he is a small border collie with superpowers.

 

 

 


#15 pineapple

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 10:13 AM

Thanks D'Elle

I tried him with a large, light ball which my old dog used to play with but he showed no interest - maybe because he couldn't grab it with his mouth and carry it -  or toss it up in the air or make it squeak! But maybe I gave up too easily - will try again. I could certainly do with ideas. He is not interested in tug games and even though he is very food motivated, he has yet to work out the kong.  :rolleyes:  



#16 urge to herd

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 11:50 AM

Sacrifice a kong and make the opening wider. Mix his kibble half and half with something stinky - wet dog food, or a fish based kibble. Or sprinkle it with beef or chicken broth.

 

Those things might get him going.

 

Ruth & Gibbs



#17 GentleLake

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 12:51 PM

You might not even have to sacrifice a Kong if you put something really yummy in it. Most dogs can't resist liverwurst. Or cream cheese. Cut up some bits of hot dog and slather with one of those. Don't pack it too tightly at first. Make it easy to get it out and be rewarding.


"People in your life always come and go all the time; the dogs are always there for me. Always." ~Samantha Valle


#18 urge to herd

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 01:37 PM

^^^  What GL said.

 

R & G



#19 D'Elle

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 01:45 PM

liverwurst=doggy crack

 

 I have seen a dog who "isn't interested" in food or treats perk up and get a whole new attitude when it's liverwurst. I first tried it on Kelso, who had no interest in doggy treats, and since then have seen it liven things up for other dogs.

 

come to think of it, I need to get some and mix it with my Kit dog's food. She is 15 and a half and is getting pretty picky about her food. I haven't tried that yet.


D'Elle

and family.

Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger

 

 

Mydogs12-2013Smaller.jpg
"You gonna throw that?" --Jester:  2001 - June 24 2016. Remembered with much love.
"I'm grouchier than you are" --Kit

"I love everyone!" -- Boo

(Boing! Boing! Boing!)--Digger

And not pictured, Benjamin the cat, who thinks he is a small border collie with superpowers.

 

 

 


#20 urge to herd

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 03:12 PM

Sardines or mackerel work well for a lot of dogs, too. Since I can not abide the smell of fish, (srsly makes me gag) Gibbster will not be imbibing.

 

Good luck with whatever  you try!

 

R & G




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