Sister in-law's cRaZy lab!!


Well-Known Member
My sister in-law has a female lab that is about 1 1/2 years old. She purchased this dog a year after her other lab drowned in a river from falling through ice in the winter =(. Needless to say, my sister-in-law was heartbroken and admits that when she got her new puppy, she didn't care about training, she just wanted a dog to hug and cuddle with, and boy does her dog cuddle!!!

Now that Sweet Pea is 1 1/2 years old, her lack of training is becoming quite a nuisance. This dog jumps on everyone none stop, scratches people's cars, and can be an all around terror. Luckily, Sweet Pea does not respond at all to "traditional" type training so my sister-in-law is receptive to learning about clicker training, but doesn't like the idea of using treats. Sweet Pea loves to fetch so I was thinking that toys/fetching might work with her. However, she is one of those labs that gets glazy eyed and losses all focus when a ball is near! Does anyone have step by step directions I could email to my sister-in-law to help her teach her dog to listen when fetching? Sweet Pea does know the commands "sit" and "back-up" with I’d guess 70% reliability, and her attention span is close to zero unless if she is searching for a ball (in which case she'll spend all day searching on their 5 acre property for her favorite ball lost in the weeds).

Any ideas are greatly appreciated!!


Experienced Member
My 9 month toller is extremely ball obsessive, so much that I don't use it as a reward for him. I instead use tugging and other toys that he loves but is not obsessive about!

But we are working on getting Vito to be calm and focus when balls are around. The first thing I did was start with a ball on the floor and just click/treat Vito for not pulling towards it, and then clicking for looking at me. I've then moved to walking by the ball and clicking for not going for it. Now the ball is in my hand, held out to the side, and I click when Vito looks at me not the ball. The next step is Vito ignoring a thrown ball, and then doing recalls away from balls in other peoples hand. I used to reward Vito for coming to me and then have the other person throw the ball for him, but I stopped doing that at this point since Vito stopped eating the treats. I will re do that step again, but for now just want to work on a complete leave it so Vito is calmer.

Obviously, that isn't quite what you are looking for :) So if Sweet Pea isn't as obsessive as my little Vito is, I would start by having Sweet Pea do her easiest tricks for the ball. Usually the first thing I work on is eye contact, and (if no treats are to be involved) I would hold the ball out to the side at arms length, ignore dog as dog really tries to get the toy, wait until the dog looks at me for the tiniest bit. As soon as the dog can pry her eyes off of the ball and onto me, click and throw the ball. I feel that this step needs to be done before you can do anything else since the dog needs to know that YOU control the ball and it will not magically be thrown just because it is stared at. This is a very hard exercise with a ball obsessed dog so this step may take some time!


Experienced Member
I’m big on stream of consciousness typing tonight b/c I’m worn out from defurminating the undefurnminatorable dog. SHEESH I have enough fur to make another dog. LOL

get rid of balls during training, fetch until tired with balls as I do before training, use balls as reward like collieman, I do too. The key in ball as a reward is getting the behavior u want and WAITING for it IGNORING all else until dog sits for example. don't leave out free balls. put them up when not ENGAGING WITH ur dog...u are the source of balls and people control balls and you might get the ball if you LISTEN. Patience patience patience. Hold the ball out at arm’s length, say Look at me, wait wait wait. dog will eventually cut his eyes to you to say WHAT THE HECK is with not giving me the ball. click treat at that second or click and give the ball. have two or three balls and get the dog to come back and surrender one for another for another for another. teach give and take and mine with food then practice with balls. watch and click and treat if for any reason the dog drops the ball....throw the treat to the ball then closer to you and closer. don't try and steal the ball or go get it or beat him to it. get the dog to come to you with other balls or better food, toys, pelts, toy on a rope to jerk and fly around better yet mine will leave ANY ball for a SQUEAKY BALL. Try everything and surely with patience and no stealing on ur part you will find something that competes with the ball if only another ball.