ball with tressa

This German shepherd is serious about ball. If she doesn’t get to go out at least once a day, she whines and moans as if she’s lost a friend. It’s raining this evening, and I’m preparing for the worst.

I’ll take her downstairs to watch a movie when she starts. She loves to snooze in the basement home theater and catch the occasional popcorn tossed her way… Yeah, that’ll sate her.


We have to take at least two balls—preferably three. She always comes back, proper fetch style, but I have to either get ugly with the “release” command or be fast with grabbing the ball from her mouth. She lets me take it easily enough, but she’ll stand between my legs with her head away from my hands.

With two or three balls, we can grab one off the ground while she catches the other. When it’s time for a rest, she’ll hoard them, one in her mouth, another gripped in her bear claws, and the third under her body. And she’ll cover the balls forever if we let her.


We’ve learned not to make her run too far. She’d run herself to death for those balls. So aside from a couple of long throws to mix it up, we’ll bounce them close by and let her leap for them. Means more throws without wearing her out too fast. More play, less panting.

dolphin technique

But all good things must end, and it’s time to go back inside. When she runs back and sees me holding another ball, she drops the one she just caught, usually while still running. If I’m ready, it’ll roll to my feet and I pick it up. Now, with all balls in hand, I say “house” and off she goes for the doggy door. Good dog!

shark bites moon

Pictured: Tressa at about one year old. You may note the fold of her left ear in the middle shot. Let’s just say Taiga, the husky, is serious about dominant play, and she rendered that ear so when Tressa was still a pup. Taiga, Taiga, Taiga.

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