My dog just wants to play keep away, what should I do?

Every time I throw the ball for my dog, she runs away with it. What should I do?

Your dog wants to play keep away. Dogs love playing keep away. Your dog wants you to chase her, try to grab the ball and run away. She’ll probably turn around and show you the toy and then dash off. If you are having trouble getting the ball, she might even drop it on the ground to try to fool you into grabbing for it. If you don’t chase her, she’ll probably bring it even closer and drop it on the ground again.

So, what should you do? Should you chase her?

If you are trying to teach your dog to fetch, then no. Do not chase her!  If you are working on teaching your dog to fetch, you should save learning to play keep away until later. If you throw the item you want her to fetch and she runs off with it, call her back. You can use treats if you need to. Take the toy away and try again later. Always make sure you keep the toy – do not let her play with it when you are not practicing fetching.

If you are having any type of behavioral problems with your dog, then no. Do not chase her! Keep away is a fun game, but it’s difficult to enforce rules while chasing your dog around. And they’ll get used to running away from you while you are making a lot of noise. If you have a well behaved dog that can distinguish between when you are playing keep away and when you are not, this is not a problem. If you have a dog that’s still learning the way you want it to behave, playing keep away can really confuse them and is likely to get them into trouble later. For example, they might pick up your shoe and when you try to take it away, they’ll decide to play a game of keep away. And they’ll be really confused about why you suddenly no longer like their favorite game.

If you have a generally well behaved dog and you just want to play with her, then by all means play keep away with her! You might want to assign a special toy for the game and only play keep away with that toy. With some work, you can probably teach her to play fetch with a ball and keep away with another toy like a tug toy. If you notice any troubles, like she starts taking your shoes or she stops coming when called, stop playing keep away immediately.

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