Fetch- Now with Rules

I recently started implementing some new rules for the dogs playing fetch.  Miss Gracie loves to plow into dogs when she plays.  At work I refer to her as a Ram as she loves to lower her head and butt into dogs when she has a toy in her mouth.  The other Labradors don't seem to mind and usually she ends up flopping over on her back shortly after and encourages her fellow labs to try and take the ball from her mouth.   She's odd.

But Vito is a lot more fun for her.  He is intense and only has eyes for the toy so Gracie likes to step things up a notch.  Vito runs for toy, Gracie runs for him.  Collision of course is the result.  Honestly neither dog minds as Vito only cares about the B-A-L-L.  But ouch.
Hmm, yes I do have a picture of a tiny slam on a return.  From April, despite it's snowy appearance.

So new rules.  Gracie gets her ball and Vito gets his.  No chasing in the same direction.  The corgi can do what he wants as he usually just barks and runs after a dog for 10-15ft.  He certainly doesn't want a ball of his own.  If Lance gets yelled at it's usually for doing some nipping as a dog returns with the ball.  Naughty corgi.  

I started with Vito always getting his ball thrown first and having Gracie wait.  I use the dog's name as a release cue as I get ready to throw.  She actually learned that rule very quick as Gracie naturally does this when out with the group at work.  She figured out that she has a much greater chance of getting the ball if she waits for the pack to go after a few balls thrown in one direction and then the thrower turns and tosses her own private ball in another direction.  Smart.  She just wasn't doing that at home since Vito was a lot more fun to harass!  

The challenge is to get Vito to come straight back to me versus veering off and having to go to ball #2 on his return.  Because Ball!  I still have to say his name to remind him, but he's doing it now!  

I recently started occasionally throwing Gracie's ball first.  Very hard for Vito and I need to hold his collar on the throw, but I can let go now as long as I show him ball #2 in my hand after the toss.  
Vito never wants to quit.

achieve1dream  – ( June 17, 2014 at 8:45 PM )  

Those are great rules!! I'm glad they are both figuring it out. It is a lot safer than letter her body slam other dogs. I've heard too many stories about torn ACLs to be comfortable with high contact games between the dogs hehe. I love reading your posts because you're such a creative problem solver. :D

Amy / Layla the Malamute  – ( June 17, 2014 at 10:18 PM )  

Besides torn ACLs, I've heard of other injuries that happen from dogs running into each other. A friend I know had a standard poodle who was playing with a black lab. The black lab ran into the poodle (just playing), head butted him, ruptured the poodle's bladder and he died. I'm sure it's a one-in-a-million freak accident but it's scary enough to make me want to never let my dogs play like that!

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( June 17, 2014 at 10:37 PM )  

Yikes! If I wasn't worried before, I certainly am now!

Had to be a labrador too. Thankfully she's not too bad at work with the other labs, at least not with toys. She can do the border collie stalk and then run/sometimes slam into dogs. But with a toy in her mouth it's more obnoxious than hard. Except with Vito.

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