Dear Paws to Talk,
I am a mature and fit Black Labrador Retriever. Recently, my humans brought home a new puppy. I love the pup but he is interfering with my favorite thing-the game of catch. Since, I am a retriever it goes without saying that I am really good at catching the ball.
Lately, the humans start the game and then the pup steals the ball. He then lies on it. They think this is adorable but am I am sad that the game ends. How do I keep my favorite game going?
-Jack the Black Labrador Retriever
I love to play catch too. It’s my thing. Someone can throw the ball really far and I leap into the air catching it before it hits the ground. No matter the distance or difficulty I almost always catch the ball between my teeth. I have strong teeth.
Even now that I am older, I can still play catch like I was a young pup with endless energy. People have even said I could catch fly balls for the Boston Red Sox. I can’t drive though so I never made it to try-outs.
When I got DiDi a few years ago, I was excited because I thought she would bring my ball game to a new level. Maybe we would play catch for double the time each day because there were two of us? I was wrong.
Once DiDi was big enough to play a real game of catch, I realized there was a problem. She hogs the ball! The ball would be thrown, she would outrun me and then hold onto the ball. Game over.
Then she pranced around the yard holding the ball in her mouth thinking she was so cute. She was not. At first I was sad just like you are now. I just wanted to run and catch the ball and I couldn’t.
Then I figured out what to do so I wouldn’t have to give up my passion.
When a game is happening I work my hardest to outrun her and catch the ball in my teeth. Stop feeling sad and get to the ball before your pup does.
The times I can’t beat DiDi to the ball I bark in her ear. I speak up for what I want. You should too. DiDi can play her game but I am not going to let it ruin mine.
After a lot of barking, DiDi finally understands that this is what I love to do. Now, part of the time, she lets me be one on one with the humans so I can run and catch the ball like old times. DiDi will dig a hole or chase a scent while I leap and catch.
You need to try these tactics with your new pup. After all, you were there first. Establish that you are in charge. If you love something you have to bark loud and clear for it.
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