Tucker and His Tennies

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Postby Marinepits » January 6th, 2010, 7:23 pm

So, Tucker is obsessed with balls. And I mean OBSESSED to the point he will block out everything else around him, even food (most of the time).

His newest thing is to take two tennis balls and run over to a bed or his crate and spit one out, then lay down on it. He'll take the other tennis ball, lock it between his paws, then slam his muzzle down on it and start "nursing" on the ball. His eyes will close and he'll start swaying a tiny bit back-and-forth as he's creating a HUGE puddle of foam/drool -- so so gross, LOL. He'll do this for HOURS if we let him. A couple of days ago he started doing a high-pitched whine that starts out very quietly, then increases in volume the longer he nurses and isn't interrupted.

I'm torn between thinking it's funny (the look on his face is just priceless!) and thinking it's terribly sad because the whine sounds SO sad, LOL.

When I do interrupt him, he's okay with it -- his tail wags pretty normally and fast even though he's still clamped onto the ball and he will drop the ball if I ask. It may take some insistance on my part but he will drop the ball. As soon as he drops it, he's up and in my face BEGGING for it back, teeth clicking like crazy. (Of course, the ball he was laying on is not good enough -- he MUST have the slobbery one.) His body language is tight, his pupils are blown, but doesn't seem overly stressed. He just wants that ball back NOW.

I've tried to get this on video and it just isn't happening yet. He stops, then takes his balls and goes elsewhere.

Any thoughts on this behaviour?
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Postby amazincc » January 6th, 2010, 7:37 pm

Marinepits wrote:
Any thoughts on this behaviour?


Two. :|

He would get along GREAT w/Daisy. She can obssess over, and nurse, a tennis ball w/the best of them. :rolleyes2:

Give that boy his privacy so he can nurse in peace. :nono:

(I am dying to see video, though, so give him his privacy after you film it. :giggle:)
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Postby Marinepits » January 6th, 2010, 7:40 pm

No, he'd probably kill Daisy, LOL. If there are any balls in his general area, they are HIS and no one else is allowed to have one -- that's the reason I haven't tried him in flyball. Thankfully the other dogs don't really care if he has them all. Other toys he will share, but NOT HIS TENNIES!
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Postby amazincc » January 6th, 2010, 7:48 pm

Ooohhhh... :shock: :o
Yeah, the old lady gets a tad hostile herself when it comes to her ancient, slimy, disgusting "babies".

On the other hand... Tuck has a fundamental right to not have his balls touched. So lay off, woman! :lol3: :wink:
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Postby Marinepits » January 6th, 2010, 8:28 pm

I own his balls, just like every other set of balls in this house, therefore he HAS no fundamental rights. :devil:
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Postby mnp13 » January 6th, 2010, 8:43 pm

Does he just lock onto it, or work his feet and nurse as well?
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Postby Marinepits » January 6th, 2010, 8:49 pm

He'll lock when he starts nursing, then relaxes and mostly just holds it. But if he's interrupted or I ask him to give it up, he locks up again. He does give up the ball if I ask, somewhat reluctantly, but he does. I haven't seen him "knead" or work his feet at all.
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Postby madremissy » January 6th, 2010, 10:00 pm

I have nothing to add I just have a very cute visual of Tucker. :loveU:
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 7th, 2010, 1:42 am

My sister's dog nurses soft toys and blankets...and gets worse when he's anxious about something. He nurses, molds it with his feet and does the whine...it's really annoying to me, but my sis barely notices.

Seems to be a bit of a "security blanket" for him at times...it relaxes him to some extent, even though he seems a bit tense. lol
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Postby Marinepits » January 7th, 2010, 5:20 pm

:lol3: Eh, maybe he's annoyed and anxious because he hasn't been able to run in the yard for hours like usual. Damn cold weather.
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Postby airwalk » January 7th, 2010, 9:39 pm

Oh man, I knew Scooter and Tucker were brothers...Scoots does EXACTLY the same thing...EXACTLY. I've given up..when he (we call it cribbing) nurses on it I figure he's entertained.
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Postby Marinepits » January 7th, 2010, 9:45 pm

What is UP with that?!?!?! :crazy2: :lol3:
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Postby airwalk » January 7th, 2010, 9:46 pm

I have no clue, he's always done it. He doesn't care for tennis balls..he's a cuz ball or similar boy. I'm waiting for Michelle to tell us why!

I completely get the slobbery, goobery, foamy mess.
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Postby mnp13 » January 8th, 2010, 2:27 am

I have no idea why they do it. The only think thing that was ever suggested to me was that it's a comfort thing and may be related to a dog being pulled from mom or litter to early.

:|

I think it's adorable though - Riggs does it with cuz toys and sometimes with kongs. If you laugh at him too much and he finds it distracting, he'll give you a dirty look then pick it up and turn his back on you so he can continue to sing to his toy in peace.
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Postby babyreba » January 8th, 2010, 9:06 am

Button has a similar habit with one of his Boomer balls--a 6-inch one. He can't nurse on it, obviously, because it's a hard plastic ball. But he will cling to it with his teeth, tongue out, drooling, foaming, and screaming. It's pretty bizarre. And he will not divert his attention from it for all the world when he gets into that obsessive mode.

For Button it's a stress reliever, and he does it especially when he's overstimulated by something else and needs something to divert his attention to . . .
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Postby airwalk » January 9th, 2010, 12:42 am

If you laugh at him too much and he finds it distracting, he'll give you a dirty look then pick it up and turn his back on you so he can continue to sing to his toy in peace.


Oh yeah, I've been the recipient of that dirty look more than once. :D
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Postby Malli » January 13th, 2010, 3:39 am

not to be the only serious one :rolleyes2:
umm, if you really want it to stop, could you just switch to another type of ball? We've found Lacrosse balls (solid rubber ball) really hold up well. They also fit fairly well into a chuckit type toss toy, a little loose but once you get the hang of it, its like no difference at all.

:lookaround: and word has it, tennis balls are bad for teeth!
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Postby Marinepits » January 13th, 2010, 9:01 am

He used to love his Kong balls (they're solid rubber), but now won't even look at them if a tennis ball is around. He does not have free access to tennis balls just because we can't keep them loose in the house with Mac around -- Mac EATS them, literally. Last one he ate caused an intestinal blockage and major surgery, so no more free-range tennies! :rolleyes2: If Tucker wants his tennies, he sits outside the closet door and just quivers waiting for them, LOL.

I'm not sure what to do about his behaviour yet, or if I need to do anything at all. I'm going to watch and see how this behaviour develops, and whether his attitude changes for better or worse, then take it from there. Hopefully, as the weather starts to warm up and I can start running and exercising him again, the tennie obsession will go away.

Malli wrote::lookaround: and word has it, tennis balls are bad for teeth!


I'm sure those soggy dirty nasty germ-ridden balls could do all kinds of damage to teeth, but he only plays with them for maybe an hour a day. I'm more concerned about him running into the trees and rock walls around here -- he already has one broken canine, but it's not too bad. :neutral:
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Postby Pit♥bull » January 13th, 2010, 9:26 am

Marinepits wrote:I own his balls, just like every other set of balls in this house
Wouldn't you like to rephrase this... :P
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Postby Marinepits » January 13th, 2010, 10:42 am

Nope. :devil:
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