Obsessed with Toys

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Service to my- people
Barked: Sat Sep 6, '08 5:46pm PST 
I've created a monster! My GSD is obsessed with toys. If given the option between a t-bone steak or a tennis ball, my GSD will choose the ball every time. When he was a pup we wanted to prevent him from chewing up household items. So, we gave him toys. We began to use the toys as a means to exercise/play with him on a daily basis... whether the activity be fetch, seek and find, etc. Now, we do walk him to help curve his energy. We have even gone so far as to ride bikes with him. After the walk or biking, he is obviously tired... but will always find a toy (wanting us to throw it). We have gotten to the point where we have hidden the toys. If he doesn't find them, then he'll resort to household items like shoes. He'll be 12 months this month. Does anyone else have this problem? I'm wondering if this is something he'll grow out of?? Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

AKA Midnight- Bandit
Barked: Sat Sep 6, '08 8:16pm PST 
Sasha has toy-obsessions too. She is naturally high-energy and loves to play. All dog toys always end up in her crate. She doesn't want her pup sisters playing with any toys (especially her frisbee). She would "pee" with her frisbee in her mouth rather than taking chances of her pup sisters stealing it.

Girls Rule!!!
Barked: Sun Sep 7, '08 3:21am PST 
Scout is like this. When she was younger, she would rather play than eat. Even now (she's about 4) eating is not a priority for her, but playing is. What we have done is take the favorite toys and we put them where she cannot get them. This accomplishes two things - first, we decide when to play and second - she has a habit of 'stashing' her toys under the gazebo - getting them out is a challenge!! We leave other toys in the 'toy box' which she has access to throughout the day.

She goes on a walk at least once a day and we play with her (frisbee is her passion) at least a couple times a day until she lays down panting. Our GSD is not toy obsessed and is content to hang around - until you look like you may go out to play or take a walk! But, with the two, they balance each other out. I will likely never have to worry about either being overweight (as long as I feed them reasonably) because Scout always wants to play, and if Scout is playing, Beau is playing.

If you want to do any kind of training (agility, search and rescue, etc) you have a great motivator, so this could be a positive thing too.

Effie- Bahnhof

I enjoy being a- girl (dog)
Barked: Sun Sep 7, '08 6:00am PST 
We used the ball to motivate Trets for agility. Often he wants to carry it around, not play.

Effie and Sergei have carried stuff in their mouth during walks and peeing. Effie is a lady, she will drop it beside her to poop and then pick it up....

Barked: Sun Sep 7, '08 7:29am PST 
King is ball/fetch obsessed to the point he injures himself. He leapt on top of the roof to a storage shed (approxametly 6' high) from the ground once because he went after his ball, missed it with his mouth but hit it with his paws and caused it to go on top of the shed. It all happend so fast all we could do was just stand there and pray he didn't get hurt.

King will bring you a ball, drop it at your feet, sit down and begin looking from you to the ball in anticipation of it being thrown for him. If we put all toy's up he will bring you anything else he may find so it can be thrown for him.

I started a thread in Behavior & Training about prey drive and recieved two good training exercise suggestions from, Nick. We will be starting with the first one as soon as King's carpal pad heals. The training exercises may be helpful to you also.

Let's play- frisbee!
Barked: Sun Sep 7, '08 9:41am PST 
My last GSD was toy obsessed his entire life. He would carry his kong around or ask you to throw a stick, even when his hips were bad at 12 yrs old. The only time he put it down was to eat.

My Mom's new Shepherd Greta is the same way. To help break it, they have rotated her toys and put them away for a bit when she gets to obsessive. By bringing out a toy for a play session and taking it away after a period of time, she has slowly learned that there is a start and end to play time.

I think some GSDs with high work/prey drive are just likely to be this way because they always want to work. We started Luther in agility to help give him a focus for that energy and it has helped a lot.