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Why Do Dogs Like Chasing Balls?

dog chasing his ball in the park

Is your dog absolutely ball obsessed? Are they hyper-aware of where their favorite ball is at all hours of the day and night, ready to go chase it and bring it to you at any point in time that you may slightly indicate an interest in throwing it for them? Do they carry it around everywhere they go, attached to it like their baby?

Well, guess what my human friend, before you judge your dog for their ball obsession, I want you to take a good hard look at our own species. How many hours of your life have you spent playing with a ball? Or rigorously training to be good at playing with a ball? Or paying money to watch other humans play with a ball?

In all seriousness, balls are the perfect shape for fun in all forms. And it’s certainly a better option instead of having your dog chasing cars. While your dog’s ball obsession may seem a bit out of hand at times, it makes a lot of sense why they are so loved. Balls are the perfect shape for fun in all forms. Their ability to just keep on rolling and bouncing makes them the perfect toy for endless fun. So, why is it that dogs like balls so much? And more specifically, why do dogs chase balls?

There are a number of both learned and instinctive reasons behind your pooch’s love for balls, so let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons behind your dog’s ball obsession.

Natural Instincts:

Long ago, your pup’s ancestors lived in the wild as predators. They would have to hunt down, chase, and catch their prey, to be able to eat. Through the process of domestication, this instinctual predatory urge to chase and catch has morphed into a much more fun and playful urge. So don’t worry, every time your dog zeros in on the ball you just threw and takes off in its direction, they aren’t looking to kill any prey, just to play!

yorkie playing with ball in the snow

Because a ball is round and bouncy, when it is thrown and touches down it bounces up in an unpredictable direction. As the ball bounces and rolls and hits the earth, changing direction, the unpredictability of its movement is very similar to that of a small animal running away. Dogs have an intuitive attraction to this type of movement and will go crazy for it.

They Want To Please Their Owner

While your dog has the instinctual attraction to chasing down balls, they may also be acting out of what they have been taught. Many puppies need to be taught how to play. They may instinctively chase after a ball when it is thrown, but need to learn to bring it back to their human and drop it, so it can be thrown again. When you are in this process of training, you praise your pup for returning the ball to you and dropping it.

When you shower them with excitement and love, they feel like their behavior is making you happy and proud. By teaching them in this way, they think that bringing the ball back to you is making you as happy as you think throwing the ball for them is making them. And more than anything rose, your pup just wants to make you happy. Seeing you happy makes them happy, and most dogs learn from early on that chasing balls and bringing them back to you makes you happy.

When it’s time to head home from the park or go inside and move on with life, your pup isn’t ready yet. They want just one more. And if you oblique, just one more, please just one more! … and it never stops, they could keep on chasing balls forever.

When your dog catches a ball, chews a ball, or is rewarded for bringing the ball back to you, endorphins are released in their brain, making them feel good and happy. This happens every time they catch the ball and deliver it back to you, continuing just about into infinitum. The endorphins never stop, so neither do they.

two Labrador dogs playing with ball in house

Ball Safety:

For many dogs, chewing on the ball is as much fun as chasing the ball. Better than then chewing on collars. While it’s usually fine to let them chew, it’s good to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t chew it to bits and swallow some pieces. There are plastics and chemicals in most balls that you definitely don’t want your pup to ingest. It’s also a good idea to make sure the ball isn’t too small for your dog, or they could possibly choke.

Final Thoughts:

For the most part, a dog’s obsession with balls is healthy and leads them to be healthy and happy. Humans have really created the perfect toy, and now it’s here for dogs to enjoy too. So go ahead, let your dog play their little heart away, and hopefully you will have some ball fun too

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