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Old December 7th, 2011, 12:05 PM
bobloblaw bobloblaw is offline
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Ball possessive with other dogs?

I had an unfortunate experience this morning with my 1 y/o husky mix. We were in a field near the local highschool. We usually go here to play ball because it's more or less completely fenced and I don't have to worry about her running off (have only had her for a month or so and don't trust her 100% off leash yet although haven't seen any specific reasons to worry).

We were working on getting her to bring the ball right back to me - she loves chasing the ball but prefers to sit down and chew on it for a bit after she brings it back closer to me. I was using treats and having some success in getting her to bring it straight to me and dropping it at my feet. She's not food or toy possessive with me or my wife - we can take her bowl while she's eating, or take the ball (or her stuffed squeaky toy which she LOVES) from her mouth and she's fine.

This morning however, another dog appeared from nowhere in the field. Not leashed although it had a flashing collar on so I knew the owner had to be nearby. I grabbed her collar when she came close but I obviously had no control over the other dog. This is where I think I screwed up - she wears a martingale collar and obviously it's quite loose if you're not holding it by the chain. I wasn't, and she slipped out of it. The two dogs ran away a little and were playing - my initial moment of 'oh crap' passed and everything seemed OK.

I had the ball, and decided (2nd mistake?) to throw it to distract her. The other dog was smaller and my dog is VERY fast so I assumed she would get to it first. She didn't, and when the other dog didn't drop the ball right away she went at it. I think it was one of those 'looks worse than it is' fights because neither dog was hurt and it was easy for me and the other owner (who had finally showed up) to separate them, and they both calmed down quickly.

I was kind of mad at the other owner for not controlling his dog even when I'd said I was unsure about them meeting. But I'm not looking to shift blame - I know I made 2 key mistakes in not controlling her initially and then throwing the ball with both of them there together.

What I do want to know is how to deal with this sort of specific dog to dog ball possessiveness.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 11:09 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Ok, I'm first up, I'll have a go.

First of all, my opinion is you don't have a problem. Dogs don't "share" much, as we expect children to do. Simple solution it, no ball throwing around strange dogs where you cannot predict what might happen. In your case they had a squabble, no one was hurt, it's over.

If you want to train your dog to ignore when another dog goes for his ball then check out some of the retriever field trainings sites. It's called "honouring" and your dog has to sit by your side and let the other dog get the bird or dummy. With the high prey drive of the hsuky that might be in your mix you might find it a hard thing to train. Personally, I take the easy way out often and for me that would be no balls with strange dogs.


Taking her food bowl away while she is eating: Big NO, NO. I know it is suggested by many trainers but I have yet to find any with any kind of animal behaviour credentials who would support this. Check out this link for why and what to do instead: http://www.cappdt.ca/UserFiles/File/...%20parents.pdf
Quote:
Many people are of the unfounded belief that taking the bowl (or other high value object) away and giving it back is a way to teach the dog to accept this. Actually this teaches the dog to mistrust people coming near the bowl. The action that occurs immediately following the approach of the person is the taking of the desired object. Even if the object is subsequently returned, it is the taking away that becomes associated with the approach of a person. Using this approach could increase bite risk for children and visitors to the home since the dog will assume that any person intends to take his treasures and he may be less tolerant than with the ruling adult.
From the link above.


Grabbing your own dog's collar when the other came up was likely a mistake. You put your dog at a disadvantage, similar to if she had been leashed. One on leash and the other not is a recipe for mis-given and mis-read body language cues. It may also have communicated fear on your part to your dog and increased her reactivity, if she was reactive. If the other dog had indeed been mean and nasty you were in danger yourself of being bitten. I am assuming you are of a height that you had to bend over to hold your dog by her collar, thereby placing your own face in danger.

The other dog was not displaying good doggy social skills by running up to yours either and needs to learn not to do that. I would step in between and yell at the other dog, "GO HOME" if I was truly concerned there would be a bad interaction. That's what our trainer said to do and I've done it and it works, so far.


A martingale should not be "quite loose" at any time. I wonder if you need to have it properly fitted. That said, I can see it coming over the head of a big necked dog if held in the wrong place. I do urge caution if a dog is running loose with a loose collar on, for fear it might snag on something.


To get my dog to return to me with the ball the thing that worked was North/South fetching. Throw in exactly opposite directions in rapid succession (at least two balls) and my boy learned in 10 throws that the joy of running after the ball was repeated more often and more quickly if he ran by me, then to me, till I was only using one ball. It's a miracle.


Hope I did not have too hard a "go." I commented on things you didn't ask about. Hope you give a read and take into consideration. Good luck with your girly pup. How's about a photo?
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Old December 27th, 2011, 09:20 PM
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Canadianbella Canadianbella is offline
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I don't think i'd share with a stranger either!
Especially a stranger running at me!
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