Saturday, April 28, 2012


Kaya was a rather rambunctious pup and it was difficult to reel in her excitement. Daily outings consisted of her running off and not coming back, jumping on every person and trying to play with every dog. I had a sinking feeling every time I saw a kid because she would make a beeline for them, leaping up and covering them in kisses. Most were frightened and at least overwhelmed. She was not very treat motivated and being on leash did not meet her the exercise needs to drain her boundless energy levels. I was able to get her to run after tennis balls but never bring them back and she would quickly ditch it for a more appealing option. She liked her squeaky toys at home so one night I brought her squeaky rubber ball to the dog park while there would be no other dogs to distract us. In less than 5 minutes, the ball took a leap into the darkness and that was that last we saw of it. How could I afford losing a 6 dollar ball on a daily basis(or more)? Then I got her a pack of squeaky tennis balls...perfect! I only wished I had thought of it sooner. She was happy to retrieve these balls as opposed to the boring yellow ones. I buy them in orange to tell the difference at the park. And they are cheap enough that I don't want to cry when she loses it.

I would bring the ball on hikes and walks and she will hold onto it for hours. It made a HUGE difference in curbing her desire to run off and she rarely jumped on people...never with it in her mouth. She seems to release tension or excitement on the ball and she even likes it long after the squeak dies. Also, the more slobbery and dirty...the better. My mom calls it the pacifier.

I was finally able to bridge the gap in her training. I knew she knew what was right vs. wrong and that she knew the commands, but just didn't have the drive to listen to me.

After a while the idea of just running around with the ball in her mouth was losing its appeal, so I got her a chuck-it. Now she is in heaven and I never feel stressed when I take her out. She will even hold onto it when she plays with other dogs, which makes it so I never have to worry about her being to overbearing during play. And the most interest she shows in children now is if they are very nearby she'll jog over to show them her ball.

I'm able to use her interest in the ball as a training advantage. Her recall is now great because she knows when she gets back to me I'll throw the thing again, as opposed to doing something boring. As an added challenge I'll make her down and stay, then I'll throw the ball, wait til she makes eye-contact for a while and then release her. If she can't see where the ball went, it will keep her busy for a while trying to sniff it out. I've also working on her control so she'll turn around and come back before getting to it if I call her. And she never runs off with another dog's ball anymore. And I have zero tolerance for guarding so if another dog gets her ball she will just chase him or her down and then wait for them to drop it. I actually sometimes have trouble with other dogs picking it up and then they guard it as their own. Kaya doesn't see a problem with trying to lick it out of another dog's mouth so at this point I tell her to down stay next to me and we wait for the owner to get it.

Sometimes Norman tries to get a turn with the ball, but let's face it...only when Kaya lets him have it. Though he quickly loses interest once he gets it...I guess the thrill is in the chase for him;)

I've got it, but now what the heck should I do with it?

I've recently discovered that she likes to swim, especially when retrieving her ball. I can sense a favorite summertime activity. The great part is that she is not so ball obsesses that she ignores everything else in life, she still loves to greet new people and dogs and do other activities, but I don't have to panic about those greetings either! Win-win. She actually likes to do all her favorite wrestle moves without dropping the ball which is a huge advantage because she has a bit of a dominant playing style and this makes it more fair and stress-free!

With Dolce!

With Norman!

All by herself.

So tired.

But not done.

Related Posts:
Wordless Wednesday: All I Need is You
Wordless Wednesday: Got Get It
Kaya: aka Pretty Little Baby


  1. Those snow pictures are amazing!! Even though we're going into summer, I'm super jealous!!

  2. It was their first time at the fun! I doubt there is any left anymore:(