Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ball Champeen

Pappy, MidairThis weekend when Jack showed up at the dog park one day, Pappy had already moved in to the ball-obsessed portion of his visit. Normally on arrival, the two of them are squealing through the fence at each other like a pair of hysterical best-friends-forever schoolgirls. This time Pappy didn't even see Jack as he dropped his ball at potential ball throwers' feet. Jack kept trying to ambush him, but didn't seem to be getting a rise.

I've been looking at other dogs chasing balls, and Pappy is really in a class apart. When I bounce a ball for Jack, his reflexes are so untuned to the task of catching it that it's like he's moving through Jello. Everybody at the park gets a kick out of watching Pappy's intensity when you pick up the ball and he starts flinching in anticipation. It's kind of frightening the way Pappy can catch a ball on the fly, over his shoulder, exactly the way Terrell Owens doesn't.


3dogcache said...

Hmm...they need to see the ElBell. Now that is a specimen in focus and intensity...eyes rolling back in the head just following the arm retracting and the fake pass of a ball. And fetching --- well one only needs to see her to believe her superior ball handling skills. A real dogjock at heart. 3dogs

Dachsies Rule said...

Pappy looks really into catching his ball. But ... he should not be able to get the entire ball in his mouth. Dogs have swallowed balls and gotten them lodged in their throats. Mom got rid of all of our smaller tennis balls when she read that and realized we could choke on them. Dr. Susan, the vet that writes Pet Peeves (blog with link on our blog), wrote about it and enlightened Mom. Mom says she would feel bad if something like that happened to Pappy and she hadn't said anything.

Roxie, Sammy & Andy

Pappy's Fella said...

I have to say that Ellie's more skilled than many of the lumbering Labs I have encountered. But superior? Superior to whom? Jury's still out.

That's good advice, and thank you for it. In this case, I think the photograph is a bit of an illusion because it is blurry and Pappy's snout is so long and narrow. This ball is big as a tennis ball, so it seems a good size for him when you see him with it in person.

Jojo's Mom said...

You fail to mention that Jack is only interested in the ball to the extent that you have it. That's why he doesn't bring it back. Jack also has ADD which makes it hard for him to concentrate on things for more than 10 seconds. But my little fella is uncoordinated. No denying that.

Finnegan said...

That's a great picture. What's this fetching thing all about? I prefer to be presented with my toys and given options as to which fuzzy squeaky toy I prefer at that particular moment.

I'm still working on training the humans!


Pappy's Fella said...

Jojo's Mom,
Yes, it is true that Jack's main interest is getting the ball so that he can keep it away from Pappy. And is often very successful at this mission.

Yes, it is strange to go to the dog park and see that a small minority of dogs actually have much interest in chasing, let alone fetching, a toy. It's so central to Pappy's activities. Good luck with your human training regimen.