Friday, September 18, 2009

Fetchin' frenzy

In my paranoia (isn't life fun as a worry-wart!) about the potential for Walter to injure his front end, over the past months I've been cringing more each time I throw a tennis ball, tug, or other such toy for Walter and see him dive into the ground, swinging his rear around and twisting his shoulders as he stops to pick up the ball. Seeing a post on Susan Garrett's blog about this sort of thing recently wasn't much comfort!

But Walter loves to play fetch on our daily walks at the park. So I'd like to find safer ways to play the game.

One thing we sometimes do to mix it up is I tell him to back up, then toss the ball at him. He can easily and safely catch it with all fours on the ground, unless my throw is wonky. Which happens a lot when one is a klutz! It's fun once in a while, but not the same thing as throwing something for him to chase.

One alternative that seems to be working well is the same normal game of fetch, but using a Hol-ee Roller toy. It's bigger than, say, a tennis ball so it sits higher up off the ground, and the holes in it make it super easy for him to grab. So, he doesn't have to lower his head as much to grab it, and being so easy to get a hold of, he doesn't miss it and then stop sudenly to turn around and get it. He just runs up to it and scoops it up, then slows down to turn around much more gently. I'm no physiology expert, but playing fetch with this thing looks a lot easier on his body than with the usual fetch toys.

And, the Hol-ee Roller is great for tugging - easy to hold, and stretchy to make for a more comfortable tugging experience for both of us. BUT!!! beware of teeth - all those holes mean not much protection for human hands, as I keep learning the hard way!

Oh and no I don't own stock in their company :)


Elayne said...

I also worry about my dogs chasing balls and injuring themselves. So I put them in a stay, throw the ball into some tall grass or weeds or somewhere where they can't see exactly where it lands then release them. They run in the general directon of the ball then slow to a trot and have to sniff around to try to find it. Works their brains as well as their bodies. The grass doesn't have to be super long, just long enough to conceal the ball at a distance. Sometimes even a small slope in the ground works too.

Elf said...

OMG, he looks like demon dog in that last photo!

We have exactly the same red toy. Boost loves it; I call it her "lattice," and I like it much better than the Jolly Balls that Tika loves.

I was going to say the same thing that Elayne already said. Or behind the aframe or around a corner or under the shrubs or whatever.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Now there's something I hadn't thought to do. The park we usually go to is a soccer field, but along the edges is some tall grass/trees so that would work. Thanks for the idea!