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A Border Collie and his ball.


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Hello folks, new member here, pleased to meet you all.

I have a 9 month old blue merle Collie, appropriately named Storm. Training is going well, and most of the time he's an absolute dream.

One thing I'm struggling with though, which I'm hoping someone can help with. He LOVES chasing a ball. He'd literally do it 24/7 if I'd keep throwing it. Once he sees a ball though he becomes hyper focused on it and doesn't seem to see or hear anything else. You can wave a piece of steak in front of his nose and he still won't break focus on the ball.

This obviously becomes a problem if we're on a walk and he sees a ball, he just wants to be after it no matter what I do or say.

Does anyone have any tips to try and take his focus away from the ball and back to me? I have started rolling the ball along the floor in the house and making him sit and wait before he's allowed to go after it, with mixed success.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
Hi and welcome

Obsession and encouraging or allowing obsession is never normally a good thing and espeically with a BC who are obsessive by nature as it can lead to esculating and dangerous behaviour and one of the easier ways of stopping any behaviour you don't want is to exchange it for another behaviour you do want... so a swap

You can choose what 'other behaviour' you want and train that...for that issue and for a working young active dog I would use a 'my toy' you go and find a dog toy that is different to anything your dog has, maybe a different texture, something easy to carry in your pocket and allows you and dog to play together with. I make my own 'my toy' made of industrial rope it is like a rope ball, the ball is a monkeys fist knot and one loop of the knot is a 'loop' to hold and as I make it I know there is nothing else like it, so you are creating an obsession on ONE unique high value toy... so as the dog sees it as high value/speical to the dog and I call it 'my toy' as it belongs to me, it NEVER is left for the dog to get, NEVER given to the dog to play with itself, it is ONLY mine and the dog once it realises the high value of it, it is the only thing it is interested in once it is brought out..EVERYTHING else becomes second best.... so don't over use it, it is NOT a magic wand and don't be tempted to reduce the training time to make it high value or you will end up in the same position he needs the time to learn AND time to process the learning over and over again...and their processing time is high priority when training any dog something new, really really easy with an obsessive BC however even for dogs who are not obessive natured and dogs that show little interest in toys it works a the value is in the one to one play with you and removing it as it BELONGS to you and only smells of you

Once you find something suitable, handle it, put it in your pocket, play catch with it yourself and/or with other people in your house, the dog will start to show interest and when it does you put it back in your pocket..repeat, repeat repeat several times a day over the week, then once you have got his interest, get it out and have a game with him with it, like tug, but keep hold of it and when you are finished back into your pocket, that way it remains high value and smells of you.... you are now in a position to exchange/ STOP throwing a ball obessively.
I have BCs and all and any ball throwing from the beginning is part of obedience training, first done on a lead/line ( so I have control) so they 'wait' as a ball is thrown, they are sent 'away', half way to the ball, they are commanded 'down', then away again and down at the ball or a recall and I mix it up as BC 'assume' they know what you want next and so make their own decisions... then once I have finished that secion of training, they get a 'my toy' game

So 'my toy' in your pocket he sees a ball and while you are correcting your training you need him on a line ( let it trail) you say nothing you just get the 'my toy' out...he will see the 'my toy' and because it is high value he will want the my toy play tug, you are able to step on the trailing line ( so you now have control of your dog without talking) again repeat each you don't need to 'tell him off' or correct his ball obsession, you just divert his attention onto a higher prize............ 'my toy' are great for fast recalls ( used now in flyball training to get dogs back at speed) so once you have a 'my toy' your dog will be far more responsive without having to challenge him because of his ball obsession....... one caution if you leave the my toy around and he gets it he will likely destroy it/chew it to bits as it is so high value but it is 'another obession' but one that is useful to you and your dog, so a positive and a controlled obession.... so you both get what you want... like ANY training you need to practice.
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You could also look into doing gundog style training with your BC. Get him to sit while you hide the ball, walk him to heel away from it, then sent him back to hunt for it. Put two balls out and send him for the one you want. These exercises regain the dogs focus on you, rather than the ball.
Hi Folks,
Thanks for the replies and sorry for the late response, I'm away at the moment.

I've got my hands on a 'my toy' which is completely different to anything else he has. He's definitely very interested in it so fingers crossed. We also now only play with the ball at set times, when I decide, not just whenever he picks it up. He'll now wait once I've thrown it, until I tell him he can have it. He's also getting very good at stopping on command on his way to fetch the ball which is all positive stuff.

Thanks again and I'll keep you posted on how we're getting on.

I haven't tried the gundog type training yet, but will definitely be giving that a go when I get back.
Great, thanks for updating, the more you train Storm the better he will become and the more control you will have

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