Balls, balls, balls!
Tennis balls! Humpf! Most of the time it seems as if I am the only dog that isn’t tennis ball mad! I’ve never understood the concept of balls! Once that lime-yellow round thing comes out of the bag, its ancient magic ball-powers hypnotise all my beach friends away from our usual exploring, sniffing and playing activities. Humpf! 😦
Where’s everyone going?
A year ago my human bought ball-throwers for some of my tennis ball loving beach friends. Now every doggie human has one!
These gadgets orbit tennis balls to the other end of the beach. This means that doggies race much further after the ball whilst their humans stand smiling proudly in approval of their own super-human throwing powers.
I rarely see a traditional hand thrown ball anymore.
For a quiet moment, I watch my friends’ ball-crazy capers from the sand hill with human-pup Lyle.
Occasionally, one of the ball-players will take a rest and join me as a spectator.
Other times, I will make a small effort to participate in hope that my doggie friends will all lose sight of their balls and play ‘chase me’ instead! 🙂
Unfortunately, with the continuous flow of balls rocketing and catapulting overhead, a ‘Chase’n’Race Zola’ game is highly unlikely!…Humpf!
Why would you want to hold a tennis ball in your mouth? Euwwwww!
A ball for a ball-loving dog provides groovy motivation opportunities to learn important skills asked by our humans such as; being quiet, paying attention, sit and wait skills, patience & calmness.
Once ball-playing dogs realise that the only way that ball will be flying sweetly in the sky for them is if they offer such ‘desired’ behaviours, they will very quickly apply themselves and repeat them just to get that super-dooper ball.
There is a lot of calmness about these doggies once they realise they can have stress-free access to all the wonderful things they love (like the ball) and their human (‘the keeper of the keys’ to all these goodies) starts to become a lot more important and exciting to them too!
Humans treasure their ball-throwers and have now developed their own personal ball throwing techniques.
Human Ball-Thrower styles:
The serious Long Shot
The tactical Double Ball Shot
The Guess Which Way
In response, Doggies have also developed their own unique ball skills.
Doggie Ball Styles:
The Thespian – drama & build up to ball-launch
The Born to be Wild – ‘who cares just get it!’
The Opportunist – ‘look how many balls I can hold!’
The Bluffer – lie on it and pretend ball has disappeared?! (I will normally join in on this one since I enjoy sniffing out things that are tying to be hidden!)
The Predictor – ‘I’m guessing this way!’
You see, for some doggies the ball is the most magnificent invention! So once humans and doggies become believers in the game of ‘play your cards right and you’ll get the all important tennis ball’ these doggies will perfect ‘the look’! You know ‘the look’? The one that makes us dogs look like our only desire is to pay attention and do things that our human asks…heehee!
Othello’s ‘look’ to his human
It’s not because our human is wonderful…erhmm! Although he/ she is, of course…gulp! It is basically because it’s in our own interest to do this. In fact, why bother barking and jumping up on our humans if we get ignored when there are other things they seem to like us to do that lead to ball rewards and lots more?
It’s all about positive reinforcement, in other words; it’s the time when all the good things start! In this case, the ball is the cash and the human is the cash machine. All us doggies have to do is punch in the correct numbers and ta-dah! – out comes the cash!
Doggies happy with their tennis ball and humans happy with their doggies!
Of course we are going to do the right thing! Behaviour that works gets stronger! It’s like the law of gravity; apples fall down and reinforced behaviour increases in frequency!