Uncle Friar’s Tips on Dog-Sitting a Duck Toller
What do most of us want, more than anything else in the whole world?
A nice house? To with the lottery? A fancy car? Our health? Happiness? Fame and Fortune?
Well, if you’re like the Duck-Toller I’m babysitting, THIS is all you want.
It’s a ball.
Not just any ball. It’s a rubber ball that you can buy at Ikea, three for a dollar.
And it’s the MOST IMPORTANT thing in a Toller’s life.
Because they want to RETRIEVE IT.
It’s why they were born…it’s their raison d’être.
To RETRIEVE the Ikea ball!
It’s actually quite something to see a Duck Toller fulfilling their Life Goal.
As soon as you bring the ball out, their ears perk up, they start to pant, and their pupils dilate to the point of disappearing. It’s like watching a drug addict anticipating their next hit of crack cocaine.
If you wiggle the ball in front of them, they start the Toller Dance. Shifting weight from one paw to the other, tail wagging. Waiting…waiting for you to throw the ball. So that they can RETRIEVE it.
And you oblige. Because the dog is so gosh-darned cute, how can you RESIST?
You throw the ball. And throw it…again and again. And again and again and again. For n equals 1 to infinity.
They’re so focused, nothing else matters. They don’t want treats. They don’t want to go to the bathroom. They don’t to be petted. They just want THE BALL!!!
Surgeons performing open-heart surgery should be so focused.
After umpteen tosses, you can change the game plan. Instead of throwing the ball, you can flick it with your finger. This way, they can get up really close to you, inches away.
And they’re so INTENSE…trying to block your path with their paw, waiting to spring into action at a nano-second’s notice, to catch that elusive rubber sphere.
You keep throwing and flicking the ball. Again and again. And again. Vrooom! They don’t stop. These dogs have LOTS of energy.
It doesn’t matter if you’re outside and the dog runs 100 feet. Or if you’re in your basement, and they run 10 feet…or even 10 inches.
Tollers don’t care. They just want to human/throw/retrieve interaction.
(My theory is the click of their teeth on the ball triggers a small burst of endorphins into their little doggie brain that lasts for a microsecond…Which is why they need to keep doing it.)
Eventually, the dog WILL get tired (but they’ll be the last to admit it)
This is when you have to be the pack leader, and tell them “TIME OUT!!! ALL DONE!!!”. After which they’ll reluctantly stop the game, and you go hide the ball in the freezer, so they don’t smell it and start yapping to play again in 5 minutes.
If you’ve accomplished your mission, you’ve exhausted your pooch, and they’ll actually rest for an hour or two, and leave you alone.
(“Better behavior through exhaustion“, they say about this breed.)
Unfortunately, it doesn’t last too long.
I bet you if I took the ball out of the freezer right now, she’d go nuts, and start all over again.
But I probably won’t.
Let Sleeping Tollers Lie. (Lord knows, it happens so rarely!)