Retrieving balls

Posted by Julie-Whatman
Oct 6, 2009
Has anyone got any tips on how to retrieve a ball from a very strong Mastiff. Boycie is a loveable 2 year old English Mastiff with a gentle nature but has a habit of nicking other dogs balls and trying to eat them. I have started to play with him with treats when he drops one and he is a lot better playing with a group of dogs where several balls are used. he will then return a ball and wait for one to be thrown. However a about four weeks ago a dog dropped one of these dense foam balls and Boycie got it, the more I tried to take it from him the more intent he was in eating it and he succeeded! Two weeks later he was off colour, off his food and started throwing up. On our visit to the vet my suspicions were confirmed the ball was stuck in his intestine and had to be removed surgically resulting in a weeks stay at the vets and a £1400 bill. If anyone has any advice on this I would be grateful, I don't want to go down the route of muzzling him as it gives people the wrong impression with such a large strong dog. Be warned, these balls are dangerous don't give them to dogs to play with.
Posted by KOPsarah
Oct 11, 2009
Hi Julie and thanks for your post,
I am sorry to hear about your vet bill! It is amazing the variety of things that dogs will eat or swallow that end up as foreign body obstructions in the GI tract and almost any dog toy can end up in bits and swallowed in an instant by larger dogs or active chewers. Some of the hard balls can be even worse as when they break up the pieces are sharp and can penetrate the intestine causing an often fatal peritonitis. The important thing therefore is to be able to take any item off your dog immediately. Have a good read through the section on training "drop" in your secrets to dog training. Start your training with an item that is less valuable to your dog than a ball to increase your success. You can also consider buying some of the black kong toys which are intended for heavy chewing and will not break up into swallowable sized pieces. If you find one that is a good size for your dog and often fill it with treats etc the toy should become very valuable to your dog and you could then take him to the park and keep him interested in his toy therefore reducing the chances of him running off with other toys he may chew and swallow.

I hope these two ideas help, let me know how you and your dog get on.
All the best,