The Toy Name Game

What is Your Dog's Favorite Toy?

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)
  • Treats
  • Your dog

Getting Started

  • 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.

    Is this a Favorite?

  • 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!

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  1. Gail Hickman says:

    I started doing this with my dog some time ago, and at the same time I included a hand signal with the name (making a circle by toughing thumbs and forefingers of both hands together for his RING, extending my arm with a closed fist for his BALL, making a snapping action with thumb and fingers for his CROCODILE etc. My dog seems to enjoy the hand signals even more than the verbal.


  2. Sharon says:

    As always, I enjoy reading your dog training exercises. I don’t have a dog at the present, but we are in the market for one in the future. Reading your training techniques encourages me to know that, when the time comes, I will have the tools to train my dog to be a welcome member of our family.


  3. chris says:

    I found when training my boston in Find my Key excerise I could implement any toy, object or place instead of the keys, once my dog understood to find something and she knew the name I was able at a drop to tell her to find a certain object or toy, as long as she knew the name of the toy or object. Once I say “Find” she listens for what? and begans going thru the whole house to find it, very rarely does she bring me the wrong object. I also was able to line up all her toys about 30 in a big circle and on command have her pick out the green ball vs the blue ball, any new toy she did not know was always the new toy. What’s great about click training is once the basics of touch the stick is accomplished you can about teach any new trick you can come up with, great system Chet, Bravo!! keep up the awesome job.



    Judith Carr Reply:

    I thought dogs were colorblind. How does she distinguish a green ball vs the blue ball?


    Minette Reply:

    Dogs are not colorblind, however their sight is not as good at detecting color as ours is. Unless there are other significant differences, you may have to go with “ball” as a generic term. Dogs can tell difference of size and contrasting colors but if the colors are similar it may be difficult to distinguish.






  5. alicia says:

    I need to know how to make that my dog can be more quiet and lsiten to me


  6. Rick Jackson says:

    Your site is neat. Thanks for sharing it. Have a nice day. 🙂


  7. Mike says:

    I really enjoyed the information shared on this blog. Thank you.


    Mel Reply:

    Great site Mel


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