11/19/2014 0 Comments
Basket-, er, Soccerball?
We have a new game. It's an old ball, but Freki had no interest in it until about a week ago. That is when she learned to play soccer- with a small, under-inflated basketball.
I picked it up while on a search for a relatively indestructible toy, thinking the tough hide of a kid's basketball would surely last longer than the thin-plastic of those bouncy balls found in every shape and color, usually in big net bins in the sport section of most stores.
Don't get me wrong. The dogs love those balls. For approximately thirty seconds. One good bite and the wonderful, lightweight, bouncing ball becomes a handful of limp rubberized plastic.
Now that she can get her mouth on the ball and she is losing her baby clumsiness, Freki has decided this is her game of choice. Oh, she still hauls the Jolly Ball around, flipping it in the air and shaking it about. But if she can entice me or dad to play soccer--her world is wonderful.
She is a herding dog with a strong prey drive. She chases the ball with intensity, corners it, subdues it with a paw, her body. She weaves back and forth, waiting to see which foot we will use to kick the ball, and often stops the ball mere inches from its starting point. Tongue lolling, tail wagging, she crouches over the ball, waiting anxiously for its next move.
Sometimes I have to tell her to 'back off' so I get a fair shot.
If I do not move with the ball, she stops it then circles back to get me. 'Come on, mom! Kick the ball again!'
Does she know the word 'basketball'? You better believe she does!
Let's face it. An active GSD puppy can be destructive. We spend hours developing activities to challenge her brain, and are always looking for toys that can stand up to her vigorous play. Stuffed toys? Yeah, may as well light a match to that ten dollars as it will take more time to pick up the pieces than it did for Freki to destroy it.
And so, the search for the perfect toy. OK, not a perfect toy, but at least one that prorates at less than twenty dollars an hour.
We found the Jolly Ball. I originally heard of these from a friend with horses. The company makes much larger versions with a rubber handle for horses to play with in the pasture. As sturdy as they are, people use them as dog toys for their very tough, active farm dogs. Bingo! Sounded like the toy for us.
I found this version at our local Tractor Supply store. The rope through the middle is perfect for Freki to grab, and the rubber ball construction is tough, tough, tough. It also makes a great tug toy, since we are encouraging her assertiveness, as the ball is always between my hands and her mouth.
She loves to sling it around, and will actually smack herself with it as she romps around. I saw her whack Ben with it once and scolded her. She gave me the 'What?' look and took off across the yard, whipping it about her head and shoulders as she went.
This has become a great way to expend her energy in the evenings. It is amazing how she can go from a long-legged, furry tornado to sweetness personified, ready for bedtime in a matter of minutes.
I think I will buy the larger Jolly Ball when she is a bit bigger.
This is where I talk about things in my life outside of writing. Mostly gardening and dogs.
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