The Toy Name Game
A couple of days ago I asked you at the end of my blog to take away one of your dog’s favorite toys. Today I want you to bring it out again and we are going to name it, and teach your dog to find it specifically from an array of other toys.
You Will Need
- Your dog’s favorite toy
- At least one other toy, that is not a favorite
- Your clicker (this makes your communication so much more clear)
- Your dog
- Grab that hidden toy, your clicker, treats and get ready to give it a name and get animated!
- At first you are only going to drop the special toy with no other toys around.
- So if my dog loves his ball, I am at first only going to use it.
- Drop it and tell your dog to get his toy; “Get Your BALL”
- When he puts his mouth on it, click and treat.
- He should easily release the toy for the treat and as he does so remind him what he is doing by giving him his release command “Give”, “Out”, or “Drop It”. As with before, do not give the release command prior to, give it AS he is releasing the object already. The release command should be a positive thing, not a punishment. We so often shout GIVE or DROP IT and yank items away from our dogs, which encourages them to keep the item and dislike the release command!
- Do this dropping and taking of the toy a few times, until your dog begins to understand what you want.
- Then, you will introduce toy #2 (not a favorite) you will simply get up and place it a foot or so away from where you are working.
- Ignore it if your dog seizes the second toy and begin to interest him in the toy you are naming.
- Drop the favorite toy as you use its name and continue to click and treat correct responses several times.
- Next, put the two toys together on the floor about a foot apart side by side and ask him for his favorite toy.
- If he grabs the wrong one just ignore him and request the other one again, either pointing at it or stepping towards it.
- Do this until he is choosing the right toy most of the time.
- Next move them both a little further from you.
- Finally move the favorite toy farthest away and the other toy closest.
- Again, ignore it if he grabs the wrong toy and wait until he has right toy and begins to understand its name.
Once your dog has a clear understanding that his toy has been named you may begin to add more toys to the mix and confirm your dog’s knowledge of this skill and then you can begin naming other toys in his toy box!
As always HAVE FUN and enjoy your time together. Let him lower your blood pressure while you stimulate his brain!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.