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Suggestions with a fearless dog

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I'm afraid Ari, 17 months old, is going to get hurt. When we are at the dog park we play ball and walk and play ball some more.


It's when we are playing ball that I'm afraid. She is a fearless little girl and weighs only 37 pounds. She doesn't care how big the dog is if the other dog trys to take her ball she is all over that dog in a heartbeat.

Today it was a huge male Husky, Malamute mix, the owner said he weighs in about 120. She did not back down until he dropped her ball.


Normally I don't even throw the ball when another dog could be close enough to get between her and her ball but my hubby was in control of the Chuck it today and he didn't think this dog would be a problem.


No one was hurt but I am afraid Ari could get hurt because she won't give up her ball to another dog. Any suggestions?


I do try very hard to be aware of what dogs are around us all the time but because I don't have eyes in the back of my head I don't always see a dog run up on us. This doesn't happen often, maybe once every 2 weeks, but I'm waiting for the right dog to come along that won't back down from her.

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Does Ari know the "leave" or "leave it" command? We have trained Polly to "leave" when we throw the ball just as a matter of her regular training. So we throw it, say "leave" and she won't move. She will also stop mid-run, like a statue. Then we say "O.K." and she resumes chasing it. We hope that someday :rolleyes: this translates to her ignoring a bunny, rabbit, cat etc. to keep her and the other animal safe. (she is so not there yet...)


This has been REAL handy when she's playing with another dog, because she has actually learned that sometimes when the ball is thrown, it is her turn, and sometimes it is another dog's turn. We had the opposite problem than you do, because she plays with a little schoodle, and she could really hurt him if they both went for the ball.


If Ari could learn this command, maybe the play with the other dogs could be safe, even if the other dog doesn't know the command? Hope this helps! Charlene

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Yes Ari does know "leave it" and I have tried this when the fight for the ball starts. She starts to back off but the other dog doesn't so I haven't told her to leave it since.

I'm not sure if this would cause her to be hurt even more.


I have gotten in between Ari and the other dog/dogs when it happens and so far have not been bitten. It's usually the other dog that doesn't stop the advances once Ari has the ball back.

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The other owners shouldn't let their dogs steal your dog's ball. I'm assuming that this type of behavior isn't acceptable at the dog park. I just think it is safer for you to tell Ari to "leave", then ask the owner of the other dog to get Ari's ball back--and to please control their dog!


As I said before, my dog is about as big as yours, and she could seriously hurt a smaller dog if she tried to fight it for a ball. Then she wouldn't be considered fearless, she would be considered obnoxious. And I'm sure it's scary for you to have a 120 pound dog come at your dog. So we try to follow the high road and have Polly ignore the ball in this situation and let the owners sort it out, whether the other dog is bigger OR smaller than her. Charlene

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Bailey44: At the dog park, it's almost impossible to prevent a dog from stealing someone else's ball. You can return it post factum or simply replace their ball with one of yours. It's not a question of "controlling your dog". Unless, of couse, your dog is agressive.


Ouzo doesn't have ANY sense of ownership when it comes to balls at the dog park, all he cares is that he have a ball and that's it. Doesn't matter who it belonged to first, or which one was his. He is never agressive, but would simply go and pick up any balls avaialable unless he already has one. But at the dog park, there are always TONS of balls laying around for everyone, so there's no fighting over this, ever.

Unless someone brought in a special toy, then you simply ask the owner of the "thief" to help you recover it.


My advice: Always have an extra ball in your poket, and you can call your dog off and show her the new and improved ball you're holding

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Would love to know how bailey 44 taught her dog so well. My BC is such a challenge. I have to be so careful when we play ball/go fetch, because he gets so WILDLY excited, biting and nipping. I have to have his leash on him at all times, he is much better than he used to be, but he still is a challenge. We got him from the local shelter 6 months ago and he has come a LONG way, I'm working with a trainer with him, but geez!! Please tell me there is hope as long as I am consistent and firm in the no biting, no nipping - ever.

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We don't have dog parks, so I'm going by how we handle things in our "regular" park. When we travel we do visit dog parks, but still mostly stay to one area playing fetch. I did get a sense from the op that she was concerned about the safety of her dog, so I was offering a suggestion about how we try to address this. Charlene

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I keep, at a minimum, 6 balls in my pockets. We play with 2 and always have extras.


It's not so much another dog stealing her ball, I could care less. The problem occurs when the dog gets to her ball at the same time she does. She is so zoned in on the ball that she has to have it at all costs. That's when there is a fight if there is going to be one and she doesn't care how big the other dog is, she wants the ball.


Zoe has enough sense to let the ball be if another dog is bigger than she is but not Ari. That's why I am so concerned about her getting hurt, she will not back down unless and untill I force her to.

If there are no balls involved she is fine with other dogs. It's all about the ball and her job at the moment.


I'm sure this happens everyday to someone that's why I'm asking for suggestions.

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I'm very inexperienced but this is what worked for us:


I taught Polly at a wee young age that when I said "listen" that meant she was going to learn something new, so by just saying that, she becomes very alert.


I put her in a sit and dropped a goody bone. This worked well for us because she is lukewarm about food-- will take a treat happily but does not care much about treats.


When she started to move toward the goody, I said "no"--they all know "no"


After a few times of her listening well, I changed to "leave"


Next test, a toy--not something that moves--something that drops flat when you drop it. I used a stuffed animal.


Next test--real test--(she is ball obsessed), so down goes a tennis ball. Hard to resist so she jumps after it, I step in front of her--body block--then "crowd" her back to a sit. I then say o.k to release her and throw the ball as a reward when she brings it back.


We then incorporated this into regular fetch and play.


This took a long time to learn, I had to follow her pace and learning style.


My observations with my dog:

1. She LOVES to think and listen while we are playing. Mindless fetch bores her. Her latest thing is to run for the ball and listen to what I'm saying to do with it, so mid-run I might say "catch it and go down" which means catch the ball and lie down instead of bringing it straight back to me. She is so smug and cute when she realizes she listened well--she gives me "that look."

2. She does better with learning if I don't touch her, or force her, i try to use body language to communicate with her.

3. She needs a chance to THINK about what she is trying to do, and time to rest afterwards so she can absorb it.

4. She is always changing, so I'm NEVER smug that a command she seems to have down pat will always work in the real world.


I know there is useful info if you do a "leave" search on this board, but this is how we did it. Charlene

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