Chewy loves tennis balls. The first ones I gave him he immediately scalped and chewed until they were mere slabs of rubber. In the last year, he’s learned to take better care of them. He’ll chase them in the house or at the park and bring them back to me most of the time. It’s great exercise for both of us.
When I take him to the park to walk off leash, he makes it into a ball-finding expedition. As soon as he finds a tennis ball, usually one that’s worn and has been out in the dirt and rain so it’s disgustingly filthy (or deliciously so by his measure), he carries it with him for the rest of the walk, stopping occasionally to give his jaw a rest, guard it with one paw and check to see if I’m going to try to take it away. No thanks!
When there is more than one ball around, it creates a perplexing situation. At home, he’ll have one ball in his mouth when I throw the other one. He chases it and then stops, not knowing what to do, because he doesn’t want to release the one he’s got.
Today I brought a clean ball from home to the park. He chased it for a while. Then it rolled down a hill right up to a fence that provides a boundary between the enclosure and the street. There he found an old torn up and dirty ball. He let the good one from home go while he proceeded to chew on the yucky one. I refused to go down the hill to join him; there was no way I was going to pry that filthy ball away from him. So I went looking for another ball. There are always many balls in the fenced area. Sure enough, I found a nice newish one and threw it. Chewy ran after it, picked it up and took it down the hill to the area where he now had the ball from home, the awful one and the new one. I urged him to come back up the hill, but he wasn’t having any of it, so I went to a bench and sat.
I could no longer see Chewy from the bench, so that didn’t last long. I finally went to see what he was doing. He was standing at the fence wagging his little curly tail and trying to figure out how to get to the other side of the wire fence. You see, there was yet another tennis ball nestled in the leaves on the other side of the fence and he wanted that one too!
Oy! Enough of that. He wagged. He barked at the unavailable tennis ball. He looked the fence up and down, thinking if only he could jump over it or crawl under it. No such luck. I gave in and walked down the hill, grabbed one of the good tennis balls and urged him to come and get it. He ran up the hill, chased the ball and took it right back to the fence. This is the down side of having a smart (or is it just OCD?) dog. He wasn’t giving up on that unattainable ball.
Back down the hill I went, put the leash on him and dragged him out and back to the car. He can continue his pursuit of lost balls another time.