Avy is a ball stealer…it’s just what she does. We go to the park, she see’s another dogs ball and bam, she gets it and runs away. Orange chuck-it balls are her favourite but she’ll settle for an ordinary tennis ball in an pinch. It doesn’t matter if she has her own ball with her, if it belongs to someone else it just tastes better. It also inspires the canine owner of the ball to chase her to get it back, which is one of her favourite dog park games.
Now ball stealing isn’t the worst offense that a dog can have, but when your dog has taken another dogs toy and is currently sitting on a sandbar at the dog beach where she knows you can’t come to get it (or will engage in an energetic game of keep-away to keep you from retrieving it) it can be a little embarrassing.
Most dog owners are pretty chill about sharing their dog toys. We all share in the general idea that toys at the dog park are communal. At least until it’s time to leave. Every once in awhile you meet an owner who is not as ok with sharing their toys. When this happens you’re faced with having to try and a) retrieve the toy your dog has taken and b) keep your dog from getting it again.
For Avy this is a difficult feat. I’ve tried bringing her favourite treats to the park to offer in exchange for the toy (when we’re playing fetch with her own ball the treat for ball exchange always works), but when the ball belongs to someone else it’s another story. I’ve tried bringing her own ball that can be used as a decoy or for exchange and this sometimes works, but it isn’t consistant.
The bottom line is I haven’t found the perfect solution to this problem – we’re still working on it! Until we figure it out we have to be careful when we’re at the park NOT to take the wrong ball. If anyone out there has some tips or tricks we’d love to hear them.