Ssshhhh!!!!  Don’t tell anyone!!  But Kimber has a problem.  An addiction.  If there was a local BC Anonymous meeting for puppies, we’d be sending her there.  As it is, we’re having to make do with some Care-In-The-Community, DIY-style Rehab.  And it’d better work or it won’t be long before she’s shunned by all the other puppies.  Of course by then she’ll be too far gone to care.  Because by then, all she’ll care about is….her ball!!!  Yes, it’s true, the shame, Kimber is a Ball Chasing Addict.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking that I’m over reacting.  That I’m being a melodramatic, drama queen.  But please remember, I’m not the Greek in this family… 😉  The more cynical amongst you may even be secretly thinking that I’m merely looking for blog post fodder!!  Shame on you!!  This is a puppy in distress we’re talking about!  A puppy that needs our help!

We, like you, thought that Kimber just really liked playing with her ball.  So we took it on every walk where she was off the lead, and threw it for her at every opportunity.  Who doesn’t want their puppy to be happy?!  But recently we’ve noticed that the ball is all she’s really interested in: she’ll ignore other dogs, miss the opportunity to chase birds and squirrels, and she doesn’t sniff around and explore her surroundings.  She’s so focussed on the ball that I don’t think she even really acknowledges that we’re there!  The other day I offered her her favourite treat and she pushed my hand out of the way and went for the ball.  Addiction.

I knew she was becoming obsessed, but what I didn’t realise was that ‘obsessive’ becomes ‘possessive’ very quickly.  The other day I met two people who told me that the ball for someone like Kimber is the equivalent of cocaine or heroin to a drug addict.  One was a dog walker, who’s given me some great advice over the last year about walking and training Kimber; the other was a dog owner, who’s dog is so obsessive and possessive about balls that he has to be muzzled when he’s out walking.  Yikes!  I can barely get Kimber to wear her fleece, there’s no way I’ll get a muzzle on her!

Drastic action has been called for!  For the last few days there’s been no ball throwing on our walks.  It’s taken her a bit of time to get used to that, but once she realises that the ball isn’t coming out, it’s as if she’s been set free.  She scampers, she sniffs, she chases birds and squirrels.  She plays with other dogs, and runs like the wind for no reason.  I love it!  The shackles of addiction have been lifted.  Almost.  Today I thought we could have a little bit of ball chasing, so we played for about fifteen minutes.  Afterwards she was still looking for the ball, but only between spurts of exploring.  The addiction hasn’t been broken yet, but it looks like Puppy Rehab is working.  🙂