When teaching a new behaviour remember that your dog has no idea what you are wanting them to do, so be patient and take your time, don’t expect too much too quickly and remember to always have fun.
Teach your dog how to roll a ball, and the possibilities are endless! You can add goals, teach 2 dogs to roll the ball to each other, or get the children involved. It’s a great game for building confidence, trust and your relationship. And it’s great fun!
Different sized dogs will need different sized balls, make sure you are using a ball that is big enough that they can’t actually pick it up in their mouths.
Step 1 –
First, we will hold the ball and present it to our dog, whenever your dog investigates the ball and touches it with their nose – use your clicker/or marker word to reward the act of touching the ball.
Step 2 –
Practice. Once your dog is consistently touching the ball with their nose when you present the ball, you can add a cue, such as ‘football’ or ‘kick’, or ‘push’, you can choose any word you want as long as you are consistent!
Step 3 –
Once your dog is getting really good at touching the ball on cue, you can put the ball on the floor and ask for a ‘kick’. If your dog is successful and touches the ball with their nose then reward and move on to the next step, otherwise go a back a step and keep practicing when you are holding the ball.
Step 4 –
With the ball on the floor, reward every single touch to being with. After practicing for a while, start to only reward the nose touches when the ball actually rolls away from your dog, gradually you can start only rewarding harder nose touches when the ball rolls further away.
Step 5 -
Sit opposite your dog and ask them to ‘kick’ the ball, when the ball comes towards you, lightly roll the ball back towards them, and ask them to ‘kick’ again. It won’t be long until you are rolling the ball back and forth between you!
Some dogs might pick this up really quickly and some might not be interested in the ball at all, don’t worry if this game isn’t right for your dog. There are lots of other fun tricks you can teach instead. Remember not to force anything, games should be fun for both you and the dog and if they don’t want to play, they don’t have to.