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My wife and I have an 8 month old that we rescued a few months ago. DNA tests show her parents to be a Border Collie mix and an Entlebucher Swiss Mountain Dog mix.

She is highly destructive with her toys and picks them apart piece by piece.

We got her a Kong Wubba, and surprise surprise she tore it apart in a day. However, inside the Wubba was a Ball. She has lots of balls, but this one is the BEST. Maybe she feels like she "made it herself," I dunno.

Given a choice between this Ball and any other toy, she goes for this Ball. When we get home from walks, the dog park, ANYTHING - the first thing she does it go for the Ball. When we let her out of her crate, she goes outside to potty, comes back inside for cuddle time, and then when she decides cuddle time is over, she hops over to her toy box and gets out her Ball.

If we're just sitting around watching TV and the mood strikes, she gets up, gets her Ball, and throws it at us to get us to play fetch. She gets extremely anxious when we hold the Ball and don't throw it: if we don't throw it, she goes through her entire repertoire of tricks (sit, up, down, speak, kiss) - like, "look how GOOD I'm being at these tricks! Throw the ball!" - and then starts whining for us to throw it.

She's never as obedient as she is as when one of us has Ball.

She can be a little rough when we have Ball: "kiss" turns into "headbutt in the face." It's not malicious, she's just very keyed up about playing Ball.

Sometimes she wants us to play "hockey" or "baseball" and throws a rubber bone at us so we'll hit Ball with it.

She jumps high in the air, runs at high speed into doors, and lunges at high speed after Ball. On a related note, if we're outside and playing fetch (with ANY ball) she will continue playing fetch with high intensity even when she's clearly exhausted and even has scraped up her pads.

She won't get Ball if it's in a scary place (near the bathrub or the vacuum), and she's not protective of it (we can take it away from her no problem). She gets extremely upset, though, if she can't find it.

So is it just that she's a working breed and she thinks this is her "job," or is this a problem? If it's a problem, how do we deal with it?
 

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If she's not resource guarding Ball, I don't see it as a problem. Kabota loves this one brand of stuffed sheep. He plays with that the most, carries it around, checks on it every so often. (after a month or two, he viciously tears it apart and then gets sad and won't play with anything. We're on Sheepy 5 or 6 now.)

As to why that one toy, why do you like things the best? There's no logic to it, you just do.
 

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Monty, my male Shih Tzu x Maltese, has a little stuffed Dolly that he has had for years. It has lost it's head but is intact everywhere else. Every night before he goes to bed he has to find his Dolly and gets quite upset if he can't find it. We have to have a few games of fetch before he will settle down for the night. He does not guard it but I do, and he is the only one allowed to play with it. One of the other dogs got it one day and that is how it lost it's head.

Many a night I have been crawling under the bed and looking everywhere for his Dolly until I find it for him.
 

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I don't see it as a problem. Cara has a little toy shaped like a dog and it is her absolute favorite. She does much the same as your dog and cuddles up with it every night.
 

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Colby is the exact same way. She'll do it for any "throwing unit" (which is what we're currently calling them all since she knows "ball" "frisbee" "'bee" "discus") she gets very excited at the mere mention of any of the aforementioned toys. God forbid someone on TV says "ball." Anyway, she doesn't have a favorite. Anything that could possibly be thrown will do. We cannot leave any toys out in the house because Colby will bring them over and bark and bark and bark to try to get us to throw whatever it is for her. Ace also loves to destroy his toys. He rips the fuzz off tennis balls and will tear apart any sort of soft toy.

The high intensity playing and obsessive/fixating behavior is definitely a BC trait. I, unlike many of the other posters, do see how your pups behavior can be a problem. If there is no way for you to "turn off" her obsessive behavior than it absolutely is an issue. I think it's one thing for a dog to have a favorite toy that they love (we had a Golden Retriever who had this "baby" that he was completely infatuated with). BCs, on the other hand, are bred to never give up and I read somewhere that a conditioned BC over in England or Scotland (can't remember which) can herd sheep over a hundred miles in one day. It's good that she's not resource guarding it and I may be misunderstanding your tone, but it sort of sounds like she can't relax when the ball is out and she can't relax when she can't find it either.

If I'm understanding correctly I think you should start controlling the ball rather than letting her have full access to it at all times. Make it a reward rather than a given. I always end a round of fetch with "that'll do" or "all done" and put it away. I think the destructive behavior can at least in part be attributed to a lack of mental or physical exercise. I think you need to make sure your dog is physically exercised and then work on some more complicated obedience or trick training (mental stimulation) to try to take the edge off. My dogs always have the option to chew on antlers to satisfy the urge to chew and I've found it helps them both relax. Both grab their bones and bring them up to our room in the evening and chew for anywhere from 15-30 minutes before falling asleep.

Good luck! I'm sure she's a beautiful girl. I'd love to see photos!
 

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My late boy Leeo had a pink squeaky bar bell toy that he took everywhere with him. He had to sleep with it, throw it down the stairs and play fetch by himself, take it to the potty with him (as I held the thing) ... he was genuinely normal although he was very seemingly obsessed with it! He had this for 5 years and was replaced 3 times! Lol!

Your dog sounds as if this is her favorite thing to do. I would use this to my advantage ... making "Ball" a reward for training lessons well done! :D
 
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