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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Curbing Ball OCD

Chocolate Lab Puppy
After read a few of your posts, I’m thinking we have identical dogs. Here’s mine.

She is currently only 10 months. I’m still trying to figure out a way for her to leave the ball alone. =) I came upon your site because I’m trying to “curb my lab’s ball OCD.” When we’re at a dog park, she won’t look at anything other than the ball. When we hide the ball she likes to take other dog’s balls. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.


Toy obsession is something we live with on a daily basis in our own home and it is a long training process. The first thing that needs to be done with your pup is to teach her the "leave it" command. This is a crucial training step with Labrador Retrievers as they love to put almost anything in their mouths. This is best taught while on lead and during walks as you can give a quick tug on the lead away from the offending object while saying "leave it" at the same time. When she leaves the thing alone, give her loads of praise. If she does not, remove it from her mouth, put it back on the ground, and when she starts to get close to it again tug on the lead and say "leave it".

Another way of doing the "leave it" command is with her favorite treat. You get your dog to sit in front of you, put the treat in your hand, and close your hand. Put your fist in front of her but a few inches away. When she goes to sniff, tell her "leave it" and keep your fist close while repeating the command until she finally loses interest and leaves it. Then give her the treat. Our Lab Brats have gotten so good at this that we can put food down in front of them (even on their own paw when laying down) and tell them to leave it. They won't touch it until we say "ok" and point to the food.

What does this have to do with ball obsession? Easy! If you view our video from Dakota's birthday, you can see that we are now able to place toys in front of them and get them to leave them alone. When we are at parks and either of our pups try to go for other dogs' toys, we give them a stern "leave it" or "not yours" command and they don't touch it. No matter how much Dakota may want that ball or stuffed duck, she will not touch it until we give her the "ok".

Just remember that Labs want and need training so spend at least 15-30 minutes a day performing these training exercises and in no time, you will be able to "curb" your lab's ball OCD to a point where it is no longer a headache.

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Anonymous cuzoogle said...

man that really looks like bosco.

April 08, 2008 4:20 PM  

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