Saturday, April 16, 2011

Periodic Puppy Pics

Every time I head for the door to go out into the yard, Callie is either there waiting or comes running from where ever she is. She will leap outside and sit down in the grass. If I mentally draw a line from her tail to her snout, then follow that line out into the yard, I will usually find the tennis ball in the grass.

I got the ball, you can't get it!

So I walk out into the yard, pick up the ball and toss it. Callie leaps into action and chases the ball down. She grabs it in her mouth and runs to a spot under a tree and sits down with the ball between her front paws. This is a demonstration of why border collies are good sheep dogs. They run and chase and herd, but have no idea what to do when they get what they're going after.

It's like pulling teeth to get Callie to bring the ball back for another throw. She prefers for me to come to her to get the ball. As I approach, she grips the ball between her paws and grabs it with her teeth. I get my fingers around the ball (while it's still in her mouth) and say, "drop it." I swear, this is her favorite part of the whole exercise. Then I can throw the ball again.

She has me well trained. But once in while we do get into a rhythm and she will, with much coaxing and praise, bring the ball back to me. Twice, maybe three times in a row. Then it's back under the tree in the pose you see here.

Interestingly, I've learned that only real tennis balls (the kind sold in a pressurized can) will do. Any fake "doggy tennis balls" will instantly be torn to shreds. She removes the felt from them and then tears them apart. But she can't get the felt off a real tennis ball. This one's over a year old! Imagine that.

12 comments:

  1. I'm glad to know that Callie knows her tennis balls.

    When we had a litter of poodle puppies we noticed that fetching was a natural instinct. Yet some of our dogs did like Callie and hold onto the ball, others let it go. Dog mysteries...

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  2. Our previous dog loved to have
    my husband hit a tennis ball
    with a golf club for her. She would bring it back, and tee it
    up perfectly for him every time.

    Now we have a guy who has no
    interest whatsoever in chasing
    anything.

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  3. My poor dog couldn't ever get the hang of playing fetch either. She'd bring the ball back to me but stay out of reach, and not give up the ball.

    My inlaw's new dog LOVES to play fetch and knew how to do it with no training at all. She brings the ball back and drops it at my feet and waits for me to throw it again. It's great.

    I hope someday you can get Callie to play fetch correctly. It is so very fun.

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  4. Callie sure is beautiful! I think dogs are natural-born comedians in furry suits. Not a day goes by when Otis doesn't make us laugh out loud with something he does.

    When we got him (six and a half years ago -- time flies!), his breeder told us "Portuguese Water Dogs don't play fetch. They'll chase it once and bring it back, but then he'll be done." How very wrong she had assessed Otis! He LIVES to chase the tennis ball -- twice a day, hard.

    And oh yeah - those special tennis balls designed for dogs -- forget 'em. Get the real ones. Luckily, we have a few friends who play tennis, and regularly drop off their "gently used" tennis balls for Otis.

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  5. Walt

    Have you ever brought Callie to the market or shopping in town ?

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  6. Chaucer (our Samoyed) only grabs tennis balls to annoy obsessed retrievers. He is, however, surprisingly adept at catching a frisbee (cheap, light, petstore knockoffs work best).

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  7. Perhaps if you just walked away when Callie did her lying under the tree trick, she would eventually figure out that in order to keep playing, she has to bring the ball to you.

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  8. Walt,
    You said the key word, Callie has you 'trained." We humans think we train our pets. On no, it's the other way around. How many humans do you deliver food too and take them 'out' to do their business. Some humans even wipe their behind after their 'business.' Tell me you're not one of them. :)

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  9. evelyn, she has certainly tried to rip the felt off the real balls, it just doesn't come off.

    sheila, that must have been fun (for both of them)!

    cubby, some dogs have it, others don't, I suppose.

    mike, you're lucky - I have to buy them!

    beaver, yes, once or twice.

    john, Callie has a frisbee torn into tiny pieces within minutes!

    starman, oh, I've tried. And tried. Once in a while she'll bring the ball back into the house and sit down just out of reach.

    ron, no, I'm not one of those. Although I do give her a shower nearly every day (to wash sand and much off her legs and belly). She has her own shower in the utility room and steps in dutifully.

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  10. It is my understanding training of some sort is always happening; either the dog is training you or you are training the dog

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  11. Ha ha, she does have you trained well. She wants to make sure she isn't the only one to get a work out. She is such a sweet girl.

    Erika

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