Your dog becomes OBESSED with the ball.
We all know dogs that are ball obsessed but is it really healthy? It builds on your dogs chase instinct but then it becomes ALL they think about and too much of a good thing can lead to issues!. Your dog won't want to focus on anything else, they won't be making the most of their walk and they won't be doing what they are meant to be doing. Being a dog!
2. Obsession can lead to guarding and theft.
Following on from point 1 - the obsession can lead to guarding behaviour around other dogs and even people. This can pose a health and safety rule around others. It can also mean your dog will want to run and take balls and launchers off other dogs. Risking fights or just chaos!. Your dog can become incredibly frustrated with other dogs running about with balls. This can lead to reactivity and unhealthy behaviours like that. Obsession/repeated behaviours contribute to a range of behaviour struggles which are complex to unpick and manage!
3. Your dog can't be social/interact with environment
Your dogs main goal is simply to run and catch the ball so much that they can't simply be a dog. Dogs interacting with environments, sniffing and being social is all about being a dog!. Even if your dog isn't social. Sniffing and learning about the world around them is what makes the walk so fun and exciting!. Your dog will simply not get enough enrichment by just ball chucking. It also keeps their arousal levels high! Rather than calming them down it keeps them at high levels which can then contribute to more behaviour problems and long term stress problems. We all know how bad long term stress is for us! Same for our dogs. (Dogs take 72hours to settle from this high level arousal - it stacks over time!)
4. It doesn't teach your dog good recall!
Recall is all about building your dogs love of coming back to you and being with you. If you chuck balls away from you and not with you, your teaching your dog the value is AWAY from you rather than with you. This can affect your dogs recall and training
5. Health issues
Our dogs are not designed to run at fast paces and twist and turn so fast. This can damage joints, limbs and cause long term health issues in the future. Your dog can also risk choking on the ball its so desperate to get! There are several videos around of dogs literally getting balls lodged out their throat! Is it really worth it!.
As a dog owner who has a dog who was ball OBSESSED when rescued. I know the impact that these can have on our dogs.
My dog has injured himself, guarded balls and stolen them from other dogs.
Since reducing the ball massively (and when using it, it's only for training) he is FAR more focused on me, much more stronger recall, he doesn't guard his balls from dogs when he does have them and he has even disengaged from several dogs running around with balls (one was a group of 7 collies!). He enjoys himself much more on walks and is more involved with the environment. He is much calmer and improving all the time with his training.
There is a beautiful video of these points on the page 'The Mutty Professor' on Facebook written by the amazing Roz Pooley www.facebook.com/themuttyprofessor
Pawsome Training and Behaviour