I have an almost 2 yr old red nose pitbull mixed with boxer and lab (possibly?) who is the sweetest, most playful thing you ever met. My wife and I take turns playing with her twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening after we get off work. We have to play with her like that because she has an extremely high energy level.

Anyways, yesterday evening I was doing the evening play routine as usual. Her play routine consists of me kicking a chewed up Sumo ball around the around. I kick it and she fetches it and brings it back to me every time. We do this typically until she starts slowing down because she, left to her own decision, will not stop playing because she loves the game so much. However, yesterday I kept going after she slowed down because I could tell she still wanted to play. I did this until she just wouldn't go after the ball anymore. I brought her inside, gave her water, let her cool off for a while before feeding her. I could tell she was more tired than usual and she didn't eat much food, but other than that she seemed fine.

Today, before work I went out there to play with her. She was excited as she usually is but this time when I went to kick the ball, she just stood there. I went to fetch the ball myself and she followed me to it and I kicked it again. This time she tucked her tail between her legs and went and hid in the corner of the yard shaking. She would not approach me and acted like she was afraid of me. Then she ran to the door and wanted inside. I let her in and inside she seemed fine. Indoors, she will come up to me like normal so I can pet her and lay next to me, etc.

So this evening, I attempted to play with her again. She did the same thing as this morning, but not as bad. My wife went out there with her and she played completely normal. I tried to kick the ball once in the middle of their game and she looked like she wanted to run and get it, but she didn't. So my wife ended up playing with her tonight.

I should probably note that we live in Texas and it was a little warm yesterday before all that rain came in overnight and cooled things off. To anyone with insight into this or having experienced something similar, I welcome your feedback and comments.

  • wow that is an intriguing story. Let me think about it- did anything unusual happen while you were playing- did she yelp at all? She may have been bitten by a bug or hurt herself on something?
    – user6796
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 5:39
  • 1
    Sounds like she conditioned the experience, possibly with over-exhaustion or dehydration (or even being bit, as mentioned). Rain causes humidity, which affects heat, and could make breathing harder. To condition herself so quickly is intriguing, but is possible depending how on how impressionable she is + the lack of experience with over-exhaustion in other activities. How much longer did you keep playing with her compared to previous experiences? You sure she was properly hydrated? Do you usually play with her in humid weather?
    – Dioxin
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 6:52
  • @YvetteColomb nothing unusual happened like that at all. She did not yelp or get hurt from what I saw. She wasn't limping or holding her paw up or anything.
    – homegrown
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 14:24
  • @VinceEmigh she is no stranger to exercise and intense playtime - that's the way she likes it. Numerous times we have gone out walking on trails that are 7+ miles and we even will stop at the dog park and play that ball game there with her halfway through the walk! I think I went an additional 5 minutes or so that day playing with her after she started slowing down. I'm sure she was hydrated. We have water bowls set up around the house for our dogs so they can get water wherever they are.
    – homegrown
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 14:29
  • 2
    "she didn't eat much food" - "My wife went out there with her and she played completely normal." - It definitely sounds as if there was some form of stimuli that triggered this. Monitor her behavior and make sure she didn't hurt herself in any way that isn't immediately apparent. If she's fine now, it could have been a case of cramps or simply over-exhaustion, similar to us when we do activities for prolonged amounts of time. With you explicitly stating "left to her own decision, will not stop playing", it's very possible you may have caused her to "over-do" it.
    – Dioxin
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 6:48

1 Answer 1


I know this is an old post but we figured out what happened. Due to the way she runs and “cuts” when making sharp turns, she blew out her ACL. We didn’t find out until she started limping afterwards and took her to the vet. After surgery and everything she still likes to play even today but not this game anymore. Now it’s a simple jog out there and catch the tennis ball in mid air. She’s still a professional athlete :). Hope this helps someone else.

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