What Is Looneyball?
Looking for a new “ball” game to play with your dog? Staying active is essential for both your dog’s physical and mental health. Looneyball is a fun sport to play with your dog that will keep him active and attentive. The sport is an outdoor game that should be played on softer surfaces, like grass or sand, due to the jumping and leaping that might otherwise be jarring to a dog’s joints. If your dog is overweight or elderly, you can keep the play at a lower level of intensity and still give your dog some valuable exercise. This sport is also excellent if you, as the handler, have mobility issues. It can be played while you are seated or standing still.
To play this sport with your dog you will need some equipment. The equipment is inexpensive and easy to make. You’ll only need a few things. You’ll need a wooden pole, about the size of a broom handle or a dowel. You will also need a strong rubber band and a durable balloon. The balloon must be sturdy. A “punch ball” type balloon is best. Ordinary balloons would most likely pop as soon as the dog made contact with them and possibly scare your pet from ever playing this game again. The pole should only be about 30 inches in length with a hole drilled in one end. Thread a shoe lace through the hole and tie a rubber band to it. Tie the balloon on the other end of the rubber band. That’s all there is to it! Now it’s time to play!
Teaching Your Dog How To Play
All dogs have a drive that causes them to chase prey. This game satisfies that urge. Begin by waving the balloon around. Your dog should take an interest in it immediately! You can wave it high in the air or wiggle it low on the ground. Drag the balloon slowly in front of your dog and encourage your dog to stalk it. Let your dog catch the balloon and “kill” it. Bring a few extra uninflated punch ball type balloons in case of a total “kill”. If your dog destroys the balloon, this is a good training opportunity to teach your dog to “drop” the balloon or even allow you to take it out of its mouth. Your dog won’t “drop” the balloon, play stops. Your dog obeys the command, you keep playing. You need to be able to remove popped balloons from the dog’s mouth so pieces of it aren’t swallowed causing digestive issues. Being able to take something out of your dog’s mouth can be a life-saving practice if your pet accidentally grabs something harmful.
There are no organized Looneyball competitions or organizations at this time. Looneyball is a sport to enjoy one on one with your dog. It helps exercise your dog in a fun way. The activity helps keeps your dog active and alert. There is nothing better your dog likes than spending time with you. Go out and play with your dog, it is great fun for both of you!
Photo: Courtesy of John Wright via Flickr (CC by 2.0)