Fetch-Obsessed Aussie

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You only herd- the ones you- love.
Barked: Sun Dec 4, '11 7:10pm PST 
My 9 month old Aussie is very obedient - but entirely ball obsessed. (Actually, it's ANYTHING he can fetch - doesn't have to be a ball!) He no longer wants to play with other dogs at the dog park - though he used to play well with others. I've read a bit and trainers seem to feel that obsession is a result of pent-up energy; my question is this: how can I get him exercised when the exercise IS the obsession? Walking him doesn't even scratch the surface, and we're not a running family. He's HAPPY to fetch - and I'm happy to get him exercised - but I'd also like to see him enjoy the company of other dogs, rather than snarling at any dog who gets to close to him while he's playing fetch.

(I admit that this breed was a poor match for our family - I couldn't talk my husband into a less energetic breed, though I did try; his primary objective was to get a responsive dog who was safe off-leash, while mine was to find a dog whose energy level was closer to my own - moderate to low - and now I'm the one who has to exercise the sweetie. He IS a good dog, and my five year old son loves him dearly; I am trying to do my best for him, but am getting a bit worried about the growliness at the dog park.)

The Monster
Barked: Sun Dec 11, '11 5:08am PST 
It's not uncommon for an Aussie to get dog-selective (or dog-intolerant) as it ages. Not all of them are good candidates for dog parks. Actually, I would go so far as to say that most aren't good candidates for the reasons you're seeing.

If he's fetch obsessed, put the ball away if it's a real concern of yours. Some people love having a fetch obsessed dog since it makes it much easier to wear them out - they simply avoid other dogs at the park to avoid snarkiness.
Maggie NAC- WV-N TN-N- CTL-3 RE

Tunnel Suckin'
Barked: Wed Dec 14, '11 3:08pm PST 
I have a fetch obsessed dog in Maggie. We get to the dog park and all she wants to do upon arriving is run after balls. I don't bring any in otherwise she will bounce all over me and only want to fetch. I did a lot of recall work with her and can call her off of fetching. I also always make a point of bee-lining to the lake as she loves swimming. I figure it is a decent trade off (lol! wet dog or obsession dog...the choices).

I will say that I am lucky in that she will run with the other dogs and play, but in reality she loves the chase more than the interaction. I only bring her in as leaving her in the car (or at home) is not an option as the other two are great in dog parks.


Zora - Wonderdog
Barked: Mon Dec 19, '11 3:14pm PST 
My Aussie doesn't care about other dogs. I think it's an Aussie thing.

Barked: Thu Jan 5, '12 5:48am PST 
None of my herder mixes are terribly social especially the 2 Aussie mixes. They will tolerate other dogs joining in their fetching but usually those dogs are Shepherds or Herders that seem to 'get' each other well. We do a lot of off leash hiking to effectively excercise all of ours with the least conflicts. We also do a weekly hike up to Dog Lake in the good weather since 2 of ours love to swim (the other one just stands at the shore and barks). I have considered taking up biking with my most energetic dog to mix things up a bit.
You may want to look into dog agility classes, they may be a little bit of a push for your energy level but you may find you love the excersise and it will probably be something your dog loves for the mental and physical expenditure.