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Managing ball interest

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Hi there,

My pup is 9 months old and is showing an increased interest/obsession with balls.

A bit of background: as a young pup, we introduced a variety of toys for him to play with and he enjoyed them but never seemed to fixate on any of them. At around 6 months, my son taught him to fetch (just small tosses and rolls in the yard, nothing too strenuous). He started to show signs of becoming very interested in chasing and retrieving so we sidelined it. I have no interest in creating an ocd ball fetcher. He gets lots of off leash forest walking and we are an active family so we don't need fetch to tire him out. Lately he has begun to show a very keen interest in balls that other dogs are chasing and even getting excited by the sight of Chuck it's.

My question: do I continue to avoid balls and fetching in the hopes that with age he will not become over stimulated (we did this with our other border collie, now 13 with great success-at about 2 years of age we were able to fetch for a bit and when we were done, he could completely disengage and relax) or should I be actively training him now to chill out around balls?

Thank you.

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Really, this is up to you in my opinion. I tend to teach dogs to fetch if I can because that way I know that no matter what, even if I am too sick to go out or whatever else is happening, I can always get the dog exercise and fun every single day.

I had a fetch-obsessed border collie. He had no idea what a toy was when he came to me at age two, and I taught him to fetch. The obsession came on its own, not surprisingly. It was never once a problem, because I kept the fetch toys in a basket and taught him that he was not allowed to bring one to me unless I asked him to. I also taught him "Last one", meaning that after this throw he was not to ask for more. These simple rules kept it from ever being a problem, and it was easy to teach him those rules. He got to fetch every day, but it was for varying times and I chose when and for how long, indoor or out.   It's all a matter of training. If you'd like to play fetch with him, you can train it to be easy and appropriate for you. Since he seems to like it a lot, I would go that route, myself.

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