It’s no real secret that Balton loves to run and play with his doggy friends at the dog park. But toss an odd stray tennis ball and Balton may give you one or two rounds of fetch, if you’re lucky (though, it’s still a marked improvement over Ollie’s idea of fetch – which typically involves running after a tossed ball, checking to make sure it landed, and triumphantly returning with the good news that the ball is dead and not going anywhere on his watch).
Enter the dog park soccer ball. Some kind soul had left it behind, and we stumbled on it during our most recent dog park excursion. Nick and I gave a few swift kicks of the ball back and forth to see how the boys would respond to it, and Balton swiftly decided he wanted in.
It took some time for Balton to figure out that soccer typically involves a bit of back and forth play, as is evidenced through our dog park video journal, which illustrates our dear boy doing little more than parading around with the ball in his mouth like a trophy he had earned.
After some effort in encouraging Balton to drop the ball (and also learning to make a point not to teach him that, no, we will not tug the soccer ball out of his mouth if he wants to keep playing), he caught on pretty quick and chased that ball over and over and over again across the dog park, until he was so tired that he couldn’t do it anymore. We also practiced a little impulse control with sits and waits. In channeling his inner Pele and discovering how much more fun fetch is with a soccer ball, it was really enjoyable to see Balton (and Nick, too) enthusiastically engaging in this game of surprise dog park fun. He still doesn’t really get that soccer is a “hands free” game, but we’ll work on coaching his dribbling next time.
If Balton was aiming to earn himself a new toy out of this experience, he succeeded. Thanks to Big Lots having them for $10 – Balton now has a soccer ball to call his own, which we will be happy to pass along with him to his forever family. 🙂
For more information on adopting your own canine version of David Beckham, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.luckydoganimalrescue.org/adopt/adoptable-dogs