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Tennis Ball Problems (How do I get my dog to learn to “give”?)

Welcome to Pitbulls.org Forums Pit Bull Talk Training Tennis Ball Problems (How do I get my dog to learn to “give”?)

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    My girlfriend and I recently rescued a 2 yr neutered male from the county pound.  It’s only been a few days but he has displayed a very friendly, calm, and even temperment.  He is great on a leash on walks and runs.  He generally listens to us very well and has not tried to really challenge us.  However, he does seem to like tennis balls A LOT.  He has no problems letting go of other toys but will not give up on a tennis ball unless I bribe him with a treat.  Once I take it away and put it up he might stare at it for a few seconds but will move on without incident.  I don’t want him to be that protective of anything.  I don’t want a friend or family member coming over and touching something that causes an issue.  He does not growl or show obivous signs of aggression but I don’t want it to escalate to that.  Any advice would be much appreciated. I am a first time pit owner and want to be as responsible as I can.  Judging by the comments and looks I received when I told people I was rescuing a pit, the last thing I want to do is to have to take him back because of something I could have prevented. Should I just not let him play with tennis balls?  Should I continue to bribe him with treats?  Am I over reacting to nothing? 

    Solid Black Pit

    From what you described it doesn’t sound like he is being OVERLY protective of the tennis ball. And you stated that he generally will listen to you. Both are positive signs for training. I started my dog on larger sized balls (like those rubber footballs, etc). She instictively loves to play, and would bring it back to me so I could throw it to her again. If she tried to run away, or make me chase after her, I turned my back and ignored her, at which time she would always bring the ball back so I would keep playing with her.

    If she didnt initially give up the ball, I pulled it away from her, while firmly giving the command to “DROP”. After doing this enough times, she now automatically drops any ball at my feet when she retrieves it. Since you say that this only happens with tennis balls, why not try the larger balls, and hide the tennis balls for awhile?  Then once he learns the “DROP” command, try to re-introduce the tennis balls.

    Most importantly (as Cesar Milan always says) he has to know that YOU are the pack leader, and his job is to obey you. And that comes with time, repetition and firm commands. Hope this helps.

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