Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: Help, my dog keeps stealing other dogs balls at the dog park causing fights.

  1. #1

    Default Help, my dog keeps stealing other dogs balls at the dog park causing fights.

    I have an 8 month old heeler terrier x, he is an awesome dog, very smart and mostly does has he is told. We have been doing positive reinforcement as our training.

    He still won't retrieve a ball, but will retrieve a basketball or football by pushing it with his head. If we take a tennis ball to the park he either isnt interested or becomes possive of it with other dogs.

    If someone else plays ball with their dog he will do his best to steal it and this has resulted in some fights. We did manage to get him to give the ball for a treat for a while but he has stopped doing that now and definately won't do it if another dog is close by.

    He also becomes posessive with sticks, grass, smells on grass, other toys at the park. At home with humans he shows now resource guarding, we can take food off him without any agression.

    He really likes the chase, we have made sure we havent chased him with toys at home and have been ignoring him when he doesnt give up toys. Still at the park he loves the train.

    He loves the park and I dont want him to stop going but I am scared he will get injured in a fight or injur another dog.
    Last edited by jondog; 09-11-2013 at 05:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    12,581

    Default

    He also becomes possessive with sticks, grass, smells on grass, other toys at the park. At home with humans he shows now resource guarding, we can take food off him without any aggression.
    He seems very typical for his breed and age but you now need to step up your training, and teach him a few things that get his attention on you and prevent him stealing other dog's stuff or arguing about it.

    My dog used to nick other dog's toys a lot. She would never ever take something the other dog wanted but many dogs (including her) will give up the object if another dog comes nearby - which is what she'd do and then take the abandoned toy. It was cute for a while - I could send her to swim out and retrieve balls from the water that other dogs had abandoned there, but after a while it got us into trouble - mostly because she would crush the ball or toy to pieces. So I'd be returning a busted toy.

    So a few things I used to do to deal with it.

    If I saw a ball or toy coming - and I'd keep a look out, she'd go on lead until she was no longer tempted. I'd catch her before she noticed the ball or the other dog. And keep her on lead until they were out of her range.

    I always have a lot of food on me on walks - and if any dogs - including her got grumpy about sharing - I'd pack the food up, and often put her on lead and walk away. It's important she gains no advantage from chasing other dogs away from me or anything else she wants. She usually ends up on lead for a while.

    I'm guessing from your post, you're saying he doesn't resource guard with humans - only other dogs (at the park?). I'm thinking you could practice more trading with him (while he's on lead and you have control) ie he sees something he wants like a stick, you might even give it to him, and then ask him to swap it for something better like a lump of cheese or a squeaky toy etc. When he does the swap, tell him what a brilliant dog he is and play with him, maybe a bit of chase the boss (you have to run).

    Will he chase you if you run? This is often how I get my cattle dog x away from trouble. I call and I run... and she chases. It's really important never chase the dog. Sometimes I do - especially if we got too close to the playground and she nicks off to go foraging for dropped bits of kiddies lunches. I really wish the school kids were not allowed to have food in the playground.

  3. #3

    Default

    Hi thanks for the reply, its going to be hard putting him on the lead every time but its worth it. He definately doesnt have a problem with humans taking things off him, also some dogs can take things away too. It does seem to be the staffys and other bully breads that he gets into trouble with.

    He also refuses to recall if he has a toy or stick, he will if we go to leave the park but wont come for a treat. Even when we show him a big chunk of dehydarted beef heart he still things the toy is better.

    We will try the trading toys/treats tricks and see if that helps.

    Today was bad probably because I was feeling fairly grumpy too.

    Thanks for the advice Hyacinth, willing to persist with anything if it keeps him safe and makes the park more fun for both of us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    He seems very typical for his breed and age but you now need to step up your training, and teach him a few things that get his attention on you and prevent him stealing other dog's stuff or arguing about it.

    My dog used to nick other dog's toys a lot. She would never ever take something the other dog wanted but many dogs (including her) will give up the object if another dog comes nearby - which is what she'd do and then take the abandoned toy. It was cute for a while - I could send her to swim out and retrieve balls from the water that other dogs had abandoned there, but after a while it got us into trouble - mostly because she would crush the ball or toy to pieces. So I'd be returning a busted toy.

    So a few things I used to do to deal with it.

    If I saw a ball or toy coming - and I'd keep a look out, she'd go on lead until she was no longer tempted. I'd catch her before she noticed the ball or the other dog. And keep her on lead until they were out of her range.

    I always have a lot of food on me on walks - and if any dogs - including her got grumpy about sharing - I'd pack the food up, and often put her on lead and walk away. It's important she gains no advantage from chasing other dogs away from me or anything else she wants. She usually ends up on lead for a while.

    I'm guessing from your post, you're saying he doesn't resource guard with humans - only other dogs (at the park?). I'm thinking you could practice more trading with him (while he's on lead and you have control) ie he sees something he wants like a stick, you might even give it to him, and then ask him to swap it for something better like a lump of cheese or a squeaky toy etc. When he does the swap, tell him what a brilliant dog he is and play with him, maybe a bit of chase the boss (you have to run).

    Will he chase you if you run? This is often how I get my cattle dog x away from trouble. I call and I run... and she chases. It's really important never chase the dog. Sometimes I do - especially if we got too close to the playground and she nicks off to go foraging for dropped bits of kiddies lunches. I really wish the school kids were not allowed to have food in the playground.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Geelong, Vic
    Posts
    871

    Default

    Prey drive and possession suppresses food. You're offering the dog $5 in exchange for the $50 he's holding and he's telling you to get lost lol

    You need to learn about training using prey drive, not just food. Your dog chooses that over food which is showing you it's his ultimate reward BUT he sees the reward items as his, not as an intermediary interaction between you as the leader and himself. This is why the possession crankyness is starting, you're not much more to the dog then the people who fill the food bowl.

    Start reading Leerburg Dog Training | 17,500 pages of dog training information, 657 free dog training streaming videos, free eBooks, podcasts, by Ed Frawley and Michael Ellis about puppy training and training in drive. If you need a hand please email or message me and I'll explain it to you. Meanwhile no more off lead play in the dog park, cattle dogs are stubborn and wont back down hence the fights and the narkyness towards you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rural Western Australia
    Posts
    2,634

    Default

    I have had quite a few cattle dogs although not a cattle dog/ terrier mix. When I train my dogs I establish and reinforce a reward system. With some dogs it is food and with others it is toys and with some it can be both and I always pair it with praise so praise becomes rewarding as well. I very much work on basic manners and recalls initially. By the time we go out to a dog type park the dogs understand basic recalls and I reinforce them using a long leash if I have to with other dogs around. I had one BC who would run off and I spent time with him on a leash recalling on to his toy. I also use my voice with a gruff tone if I have to. He soon learnt that chasing dogs was not to be tolerated and that coming to me was rewarding. Now I just expect it, he fully understands and if he were to disobey I would have words with him.

    Cattle dogs are easy to train as long as you set the ground rules and put the time in to reinforce them, mine have all been brilliant and so keen to work with me. Not sure about terriers, I prefer the straight herding breeds, so what influence they have I dont know.

    I have to say I dont trade with my dogs. I establish a value system and I teach dogs that if I want something they give it to me. I do this by being passive and still and encouraging them to out what they have in their mouth. As soon as they out the toy I will reward them with another go at the toy or I will give a treat but I pair this with praise and just use praise once they understand.

    If they get possesive with something I just remove it immediately and the fun stops, I will also use a voice tone to reinforce I dont like. I actually dont tolerate that crap. They learn real quick. I have had my toys stolen by other dogs and watched their owners ineffectively flap around after them with bits of food while the dog outwits them, it was excruciating to watch. I have never given my dogs the chance to do that. It is incredibly annoying. I waited for 15 minutes once to get a toy back.

    Glad you are working to resolve this.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 09-11-2013 at 09:26 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Geelong, Vic
    Posts
    871

    Default

    As soon as they out the toy I will reward them with another go at the toy or I will give a treat but I pair this with praise and just use praise once they understand.
    That is a trade even praise is a trade with the dog, that's why the dog will relinquish the object to you because it's not a perceived loss. If the OP's dog is already showing possessiveness, just taking the object without some form of trade while learning a command to 'leave' or 'give' will increase the behavior or get them bitten.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    melbourne australia
    Posts
    3,082

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nekhbet View Post
    That is a trade even praise is a trade with the dog, that's why the dog will relinquish the object to you because it's not a perceived loss. If the OP's dog is already showing possessiveness, just taking the object without some form of trade while learning a command to 'leave' or 'give' will increase the behavior or get them bitten.
    I used to get bitten for stealing retrieved items from bernie, and it hurts a LOT. Then shown the "swap" method with Steve Courtney trainer and voila! dog is happy to give up, as THAT is what sends the 2nd item flying. (dog works handler to throw a new prey item) Almost simultaneously, as soon as item 1 is given, the other item is thrown. Fast pace. The faster the better on a swap. Keeps focus real sharp, so dog notices the other item. Easier to slow the 'give' command, once you have it happening this way.

    We practiced alone first at home a 'game' of give.
    2 prey items. 1 off leash dog.
    Get dog going, tease it with ball, then release the ball to front left quadrant of yours. As dog is in send off, get 2nd ball ready.
    When dog is 4 paces away, produce that 2nd ball with a lot of fuss, so dog wants 2nd ball more than 1st, once spat, the 2nd ball gets thrown front right quadrant of yours.

    In essence, the dog is zooming to your left, and spitting in middle, zooming off to your right for next item.
    Running left and right of you along a imaginary line you are stood on. there is no break in this game, keep the dog running, you stand still.

    Once dog is playing and really enjoying the game, and pushing you for next ball, by automatically heading in opposite direction anticipating that thrown ball. Put balls away, and praise/release dog.
    Always stop whilst dog wants more. Or you will extinguish the behaviour.

    What i found playing this game was:
    a ball is good, briefly
    a ball with someone else throwing it is great indeed
    a ball with shelle throwing it is sodding AMAZING and he stopped stealing other dogs balls.
    Quickly.





    And find some different balls. There is a distinct hierarchy in this house for Bernie re balls.
    and a high bounce ball is amazing!
    kept in bright yellow. Distinct from all other balls by colour for the slow to see human on other end of leash.
    I can have a brand new tennis ball, usual ball i use for fetch. (bright green new) and he's more excited, as its a new ball. But throw 2 balls, brand new tennis, and high bounce, and its high bounce that gets 'caught' first. Every time.

    High bounce balls are dodgy, as can be swallowed by my dogs. So i dont ever leave them with this ball, or any ball for that matter, coz they are all mine lol

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rural Western Australia
    Posts
    2,634

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nekhbet View Post
    That is a trade even praise is a trade with the dog, that's why the dog will relinquish the object to you because it's not a perceived loss. If the OP's dog is already showing possessiveness, just taking the object without some form of trade while learning a command to 'leave' or 'give' will increase the behavior or get them bitten.
    Yes it is a trade, but the dog already understands the reward system so it has to do something to get something in return so for me it is not a direct swap.

    I recently took on a young cattle dog from rescue that was possesive and had been returned. If she had an object that she was being possessive about I just stopped everything, leashed the dog all fun stops and the toy gets dropped pretty quickly and I removed it.

    I would also use my voice, not with a leave it command (so I didnt put a command on the action) but with a gruff sound. So I didnt remove it forcibly and say leave it, I just made the consequences her choice. Get possesive and everything stops immediately. For her it worked well. She wasnt interested in trading because being in control of the toy was much more exciting than any trade and had been reinforced. But she hated having everything stopped and the gruff sound of my voice. At the same time I was doing lots of shaping and basic training with her and building a working relationship. She is is fantastic now, no sign of any possesivenes and so eager to learn, a nice high drive dog to work with. When I take her out and about she is only interested in me and will come instantly in any situation.

    Guess it depends what works for each dog. I just prefer to do it the way I know works for me and perhaps I am not explaining it well. I have had several possesive dogs over the years from rescue and it always works. With my dogs raised from pups I have never had a problem with possesiveness.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 09-12-2013 at 09:23 AM.

  9. #9

    Default

    Hi, thanks for all the replies.

    Jon will give the ball fairly quickly if no other dog is interested in him or the ball, he has never bitten us aggressively and anyone including other dog owners can take anything out of his mouth with out him becoming aggressive. Its only dogs that he doesn't like trying to take things off him and he won't give the ball to us if there are dogs nearby. I think he does see it as a game and likes the chase.

    The fights that have occurred have been noisy but no injuries and only dogs who are already aggressive and dominating end up fighting. A lot of people at the park don't think its a problem, we have a group that casually meet every day so the dogs can play together.

    Jon also becomes possive of sticks, grass and smells on the grass, usually he just snaps at the air in front of a dog near by, most dogs ignore him and keep going with what they are doing, jon doesnt do anything.

    I think we will work on the 'give' games, if he shows aggression or doesnt hand over toys we will leash him and take him off the park. His favourite toys are balls that are too big to fit in his mouth, we might take one of thoes to the park and use that to get him to give up other dogs balls. If he becomes aggressive and possessive with the big ball then we will take it off him and leash him.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kalacreek View Post
    Yes it is a trade, but the dog already understands the reward system so it has to do something to get something in return so for me it is not a direct swap. I recently took on a young cattle dog from rescue that was possesive and had been returned. If she had an object that she was being possessive about I just stopped everything, leashed the dog all fun stops and the toy gets dropped pretty quickly and I removed it. I would also use my voice, not with a leave it command but with a gruff sound. So I didnt remove it forcibly, I just made the consequences her choice. Get possesive and everything stops immediately. For her it worked well. She wasnt interested in trading because being in control of the toy was much more exciting than any trade and had been reinforced. But she hated having everything stopped. At the same time I was doing lots of shaping and basic training with her. She is is fantastic now.

    Guess it depends what works for each dog. I just prefer to do it the way I know works for me. I have had several possive dogs over the years from rescue and it always works.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rural Western Australia
    Posts
    2,634

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jondog View Post
    Hi, thanks for all the replies.

    Jon will give the ball fairly quickly if no other dog is interested in him or the ball, he has never bitten us aggressively and anyone including other dog owners can take anything out of his mouth with out him becoming aggressive. Its only dogs that he doesn't like trying to take things off him and he won't give the ball to us if there are dogs nearby. I think he does see it as a game and likes the chase.

    The fights that have occurred have been noisy but no injuries and only dogs who are already aggressive and dominating end up fighting. A lot of people at the park don't think its a problem, we have a group that casually meet every day so the dogs can play together.

    Jon also becomes possive of sticks, grass and smells on the grass, usually he just snaps at the air in front of a dog near by, most dogs ignore him and keep going with what they are doing, jon doesnt do anything.

    I think we will work on the 'give' games, if he shows aggression or doesnt hand over toys we will leash him and take him off the park. His favourite toys are balls that are too big to fit in his mouth, we might take one of thoes to the park and use that to get him to give up other dogs balls. If he becomes aggressive and possessive with the big ball then we will take it off him and leash him.
    If he becomes aggressive with the big ball, you could leash him and let him cool off and try again. I would stop everything and do something boring and then resume. So we would practice not getting possessive so to speak. I also do things in short sequences so I would try and finish on a good note. You could even mix it up so if he gives up the stolen ball for the big ball lots of praise and playing with the big ball, if he doesnt give up the stolen ball he gets leashed and you can keep walking him on the leash for awhile and then have another play with the big ball.

    So you are contrasting the consequences for him. Boring if he gets possesive or wont give up a ball. Lots of fun with the big ball if he behaves. Keep working on his recalls on your walk and make the consequences of coming to you very rewarding.

    .

    Personally with the air snapping - the other dogs know how to deal with it they ignore him, but I would still discourage it. If you see him even thinking about doing it I would call him to you and give him a treat, or play with a toy for coming to you immediatyely. It is not a habit I would allow him to reinforce.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •