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Referencing Tim and Molly and the ongoing ball discussion.
Hi Tim. Molly is attached to her ball much like River is. If there is no food involved, the ball is IT.
While River gets food treats for her alerts in the field, the ball is still her end game and she really enjoys it. I often let her take the ball between patches and while hiking. I occasionally throw and she just keeps it until we reach our next area, at which time I take the ball and place it back in my backpack.
River never guards the ball, she will on occasion keep it and chew if she is tired, or if she is really into it and knows I am stopping. A food treat at the time Molly tries to guard from the ball will help her to let go at which time I suggest you put the ball out of site, even out of your pocket and into a backpack. Out of site, eventually out of mind, especially if a food treat is being offered.
If you have time, just take Molly for a walk, allow her to see the ball being placed in your pack and then just walk. Walk until she forgets, even if it takes a long time. Offer no reward, just a walk with the ball in your pack. At the end of the walk, or even on the way back (simulating a finished day in the field) just let her take it. Every time you leave with Molly, even just to the store or whatever, you can allow her to see you put the ball in the pack and just go. When you return from your errand or outing, she gets the ball. This has always been a great thing not only for River, but myself as well. If we have had a frustrating day in the field, the ball lets us both know that the day is done or at least that area is done. Often it is just as much a relief for me to pull the ball out as it is for her. Keep up the good work, you and Molly are doing really well. Its called fishing, not catching, just keep shaping your alerts and figure out the best place for the ball in your activities, it all comes together.