After completing the 1st year of the blog, I’m back with a post that will shock many and certainly will give you something to talk about.
I will cover the topic about playing fetch. What happens in your dog when you throw the ball?
It is common to find this situation in dog parks, where dogs are predominately not relaxed. Have you ever wondered why?
Dogs don’t have to get tired to death so that they are calm at home. That’s a myth!!!
Throwing objects (sticks, balls or other toys) so that your dog runs after them is not good for his/her physical or mental health. It is an activity full of abrupt movements, hard starts, jumps and dry stops, which are everything but convenient for their body.
Your dog chases the ball because it is in their nature to pursue the movement. In the wild, they not only pursue the prey without purpose, but dogs compensate the energy expenditure and the stress produced by the stalking and the pursuit when gnawing the prey, when grooming and with rest.
Just the opposite of what humans teach them! By fetching the ball over and over, their hunting sequence is incomplete and you don’t let them compensate for their stress.
By throwing the ball (or other objects) you will only get a stressed dog . Stress makes the sugar go to the muscles and not the brain because it prepares the body for the fight or flight response. Therefore, they will need to move the muscles and it will be hard to be still.
In addition, the adrenaline that segregates their body during this activity can lead to addiction. Yes, you read it right! There are dogs that are addicted to the ball! If you play fetch with your dog every day, watch out! It’s very likely your dog is addicted. If your dog is one who prefers the ball rather than to relate and interact with other dogs, if he/she doesn’t get tired of fetching or doesn’t know how to have fun with anything else, YOUR DOG IS AN ADDICT.
The result will be a more nervous dog with difficulty to relax, with possible muscular pains, with less capacity for concentration, learning, memory and resolution of conflicts. This can lead to behavioral changes and less ability to interact with other dogs. (I recommend reading the post about signs of stress)
And now what can we do?
First of all, don’t play fetch anymore.
Avoid going to places where someone is throwing the ball for a while.
Leave the toys at home, besides you’ll avoid fights.The walk is to relax and sniff around, not to be fixed on a ball and run after it.
Have calming walks with your dog. You can keep changing routes and explore new things together.
If your dog likes chewing the ball to relax, it’s ok. But at home, you don’t have to take the ball for a walk too. Attention: it has to be specifically a ball fit for dog’s teeth, NO TENNIS BALLS! Tennis balls are made of fiberglass and cause a sandpaper effect that ends up destroying your dog’s teeth over time.
It’s better to play a game to find the ball rather than to chase it. So, instead of encouraging the predatory instinct by reaction to the movement (by sight), you’ll be making your dog work and use their nose as they think and relax. Although it may help not to see the ball for a while. You will have to consider that depending on how addicted your dog is.
Promote nosework It is mental stimulation, they will be working, learning and having fun while relaxing.
Organize excursions to the mountain, beach or go to your friends where your dog can explore new places and have freedom of movement.
If your dog is an addict give them time, be patient. Now you know how to get your friend to enjoy life in other ways.
And if your furry companion is not hooked, you can prevent it. There are a thousand things you can do with your dog!
Share the post with your doggy friends in case they don’t know yet!
Dare to comment! Dog licks
 Stress, Anxiety and Aggression in Dogs Paperback –by Anders Hallgren
 Back problems in dogs: underlying causes for behavioral problems Hardcover – by Anders Hallgren