Teach Your Dog To LOVE Playing With Toys And How To Tug – Professional Dog Training Tips

Teach Your Dog To LOVE Playing With Toys And How To Tug – Professional Dog Training Tips


– There was a time when this toy poodle didn’t really like toys at all. Boy, things have changed. Get that thing! (laughs) (barking) (upbeat music) (background chattering) I think we should call
this class Grade Fun, Rather than Grade One! ‘Cause I have a lot of fun, and I know Kayl has fun tormenting me during class. I don’t know how many times
I had to be the demo dog. – Yeah, but I had to like tell you what to do while you
were the demo dog today, because you weren’t like reading my, my mind.
– Mind. – Yeah. – Hmm, that is a problem if
I’m not reading her mind. – Yeah, you should just know these things. We need to be internally connected. – Yeah, okay, I don’t
really know what that means, but there’s obviously, some message here. (laughter) – At least you got that part of it. He’s getting better,
sometimes, some things. – We’re good at vlogging. – We’re really good at
vlogging, like the best! (upbeat music) – We wanted to take a
minute today to talk about Hippy Shake and how we
got her to enjoy playing with toys and more specifically how we got Hippy to tug, ’cause it was no easy task. When we first got Hippy she
didn’t really love toys. She wouldn’t engage, she wouldn’t play with like engaging toys, like a tug or even like a soft Frisbee, anything were we– – Well she was interested in them, but she wasn’t really interested in like maintaining attention on them– for a long time.
– Yeah. – And I think ’cause she was so small too, I think she often felt intimidated, when we would bend over
to like tug with her– – Yep. – Because she would play
with them, a little bit more individually, but wasn’t
as encouraged to play with them when it involved us. – Yeah, and I think those
toys, those toys that involve you as well, can be really
helpful for all sorts of skillsets and building a relationship. There’s all sorts of things.
– Rewarding. – Yeah, for rewarding, you know,
whatever behavior you want. It’s also really motivating
and we needed to just sort of figure out how we can make
it as motivating for Hippy, as it is for any one of our other dogs. So we found a few simple
little sort of tweaks that we do with our training
and when we used those tug toys or interactive toys, that were really helpful for Hippy. First off, we wouldn’t give her access to those toys all the time. It was really important
that we had some toys that were special for her,
and we’d only bring out when we wanted to play tug. – Yeah, so she had access to
things that she could chew on, like lie down and chew
on independently of us, whether it was a bone, or a
(mumbles) with treats in it, or any type of toy that we
would be a hundred percent confident, that if she
laid and chewed on it, she wasn’t gonna get hurt, but also in addition to that, because we were trying to
build her drive with the toys, we didn’t really want her to learn to play with those types of toys
independently without us and learn that she could self-reward, by having access to those
types of interactive toys all the time. So things like tennis balls, or Frisbees, or tug toys, things like
that, we only brought out in scenarios where we knew we were gonna be doing it together. – For sure. The second step was making
sure that she won most often. So if was playing tug, for
example, I would make sure that she was able to take
the toy away from me, more often than I would
take it away from her. And that was something
that she started to learn, like if I win with this
toy, I get to keep it. This can be my toy, and
for some dogs that’s really not a great behavior that
you wanna rehearse with them, because they certainly feel more empowered by taking the toy away from you, but for a dog like Hippy
or a dog that’s not really sure if they love toys, it’s a great way to motivate them to really want the toy even more. – Stop, she’s so hyper. – I know she’s havin’ a fit. – Stop, stop–
– She can’t be contained. – The other thing we
did is we experimented with lots of different types of toys to see what she liked best. So she’s very aware of texture, this dog, so she preferred things that were softer, she wasn’t as into like
the latex types of toys, whereas, some of our other
dogs actually prefer that over the softer toys. So she likes softer toys,
and she really liked toys that she could like
get her whole mouth around, and her mouth isn’t very big.
– It’s pretty little. – So we had to really look for toys that we’re appropriately sized for
her ’cause she’s so small. And one of the toys
that I ended up finding was this little tiny
Frisbee that was maybe about this big, like smaller than, smaller than a pancake. It was like really tiny. – Depends on what size the pancake. – But not Ken’s pancakes. ‘Cause Ken’s pancakes–
– Not my pancakes. – Are like the size of the whole pan. It was very, very small
and it had a little flap in it that you
could put food inside of which she loves to, loves the food. – [Ken] Yeah. – So we found that was
really fun and it flew really well, it moved,
so we could throw it. She could chase it, and
she loved it bunched up and a hold it inside her mouth
and then run around with it. So it was sort of experimenting with different types of
toys that she really liked. And then we started to gravitate towards the things that we knew she would be more motivated to work for. – And when we figured out
what toys she really loved, we would really animate that toy. So something that a lot of people do when they try to get their
dog to play with something is shoving it in their face. – Yeah. – But want a dog like Hippy– – Or throwing it and
dropping it on the ground, and telling the dog to
repetitively get it. – Yeah, it’s just not that exciting. – No, dogs don’t naturally often have what we call, they retrieve a dead toy. So it’s sort of a horrible
way of explaining it, but that’s sort of the
phrases that dog trainers use. – Yeah. – It just means that they throw a toy out, and then they just let
it drop on the ground, and then it’s completely still, and, you know, you’re not
really utilizing the dog’s natural prey drive when
you’re sending them to a toy that’s completely still, or an item that’s still, so it’s much more effective to send them to something that’s moving,
which is I think why for her, like a little tennis ball or a little Frisbee was great, because it would be in motion as we were sending her to it, or another thing that we did quite a lot is we would put a toy
on a rope or a leash, and then I would drag
it around everywhere, and just as she was about
to get close to grab it, I would whip it in a different direction, a few times just to
make her a little crazy, and then, of course, as
Ken mentioned earlier, once we would let her get it, we would let her win and would just like make it a big deal, and she would prance around
like she was like so cool. And that for her was really
rewarding and she loved that style of play with the
item being so active. – For sure, ’cause keep in mind, this is all about motivation. This isn’t about the toy. We’re just making her excited
for whatever the thing is that we choose and in that
instance it was a toy. Actually one time when Kayl went away, probably to some– – I think I was teaching a seminar. – Teaching seminar or something,
she issued me a challenge, and that was to get Hippy to retrieve this tiny little Frisbee, and my goal for the four or five days that Kayl was away, to get
Hippy reliably retrieving this Frisbee, and she and
I spent a lot of time– – I have good training technique for Ken, because a soon as I say, “I
have a challenge for you.”, he is immediately on it. – It’s too bad she doesn’t
issue a how many cookies can you eat challenge more often. (laughter) But in this instance, it
was to get Hippy to retrieve the little Frisbee. So what I did, I knew that
it was gonna take repetition, but I know that Hippy’s
tolerance for working something for too long is pretty
low, so I broke that down into short sweet play sessions that were a couple of minutes long,
keeping her really high, and really excited about that toy, but I would throw the Frisbee
out, four or five times making sure she was really excited about it every single time, and then I’d just break it off, and I’d take that Frisbee away and she wouldn’t get again until we had our next play session, and what I found with her,
is I can start to tell when she just wasn’t as enthusiastic and I would immediately stop
the exercise at that point, and then the next time I planned to have a little training session, I would stop, maybe if it were
four times the first time, and on the fourth she didn’t retrieve, really excited and really speedy then I’d only do three the next time. That way I keep her really
excited about the exercise and really excited about the toy. So keep those sessions
really short and sweet and make sure that your dog
is loving every moment of it, before you end it. – You know, as you guys may
know, Ken and I own lots of dogs, lots of different
dogs and another technique that I have used in the past
and actually used with Hippy specifically is I utilize
the other dogs in the pack to teach her to be a better tugger, and I have a lot of students say to us, “Oh, my dog tugs really well, “when they’re playing with the other dogs, “but they won’t tug with me.” My suggestion for that
is to not allow your dog to play tug with the other dogs if you’re having issues yourself being able to engage your own dog. Because a lot of dogs will
bond to your other dogs, and then they’ll figure
the game is fun with them and they don’t really care
about doing it with you. So I didn’t allow Hippy to play tug with my other dogs until
she was tugging with me more reliably and then
as I started to reinforce that rule, it actually started
to work into my advantage, because if I was tugging
with Hip and all of a sudden, she kind of got a little bit over it, I would immediately start
tugging with another dog and she has a very
competitive nature about her, you know, with her running and her racing and things like that, so
very quickly she started to put two and two together, that if she stopped playing with me, I was gonna tug with another dog and that made her very jealous, and I started to notice
that when I would start to look like I was going
to play with another dog, she would grab the toy
again and start shaking it like a death shake, yes, you missy. You little cute little Mohawk girl. – [Ken] And it’s less intimidating
sounding when you see– – Yeah.
– A toy poodle doing– – Yeah, it’s quite adorable. But that worked really, really well because she didn’t want
the other dogs to have fun. She started to learn
that if she skipped out on our little session
together that someone else was gonna get some fun,
and she was gonna miss out, and that really got a much more intense type of tug and play with
her and worked really well, and obviously only good
if you have multiple dogs, but that definitely was
a trick that I think made a big difference. And the thing that is
important to remember is that each dog is different, and you know, Hippy’s
our first toy poodle. We have border collies, and Ken has a Lab,
that’s super into toys– – And mixed breed. – Yeah, mixed breeds, and
all have been very different with toys, all have been
fairly motivated to tug, and she likes the toys as well. She never disliked them,
but she just didn’t really know how to interact with them. – Yeah. – But a lot of that came down to us not knowing how to interact with her, when it came to the toys. I was used to coming from my last dog, you know, grand slam, he will almost take your arm off
tugging, he’s so into it. And you know when I first started tugging with her I was tugging really aggressively and I think she was like oh my gosh, that was like way too much, so I tried different
techniques of interacting and what I actually found
through trial and error is that one of her favorite things to do is to have the toy in her mouth, and prance around with it,
or even when I scratch her and sort of tickle her while she holds the toy in her mouth, to her,
that is just as rewarding as you know slam, finds,
tugging on the toy, really aggressively. So, you know, not every dog needs to be super-intense with the
way that they interact with the toy with you. Some dogs like that, some dogs don’t. You know, they’re all
different, and it’s important to try different things until
you see something that works. You know, that’s what makes
you a good dog trainer, and that’s what allows you
to have success with lots of different types of dogs, I think. – For sure, and when
you talked about Hippy scratching her bum while
she’s holding a toy, it accomplishes the same purpose, really, because it allows to use
a toy for whatever skill you’re working on. It allows you to have an engaging, session or, you know, that
moment is about you and the dog. So, I mean it accomplishes all the things that you’d want, whether
it’s by tugging with the dog or playing with a toy. You know, it accomplishes
all those things, and that’s really what you’re after. – And again, this
session is not about you. It’s about your dog. – Yeah. – It’s about how rewarding
they find what you’re doing, and you certainly can teach dogs to tug and you can teach dogs to play. You can teach your dog to do basically anything if you have the right motivators and the right, you know, right information but not all dogs find
it internally rewarding. You have to, she almost caught that fly.
– She almost caught a fly. – You have to figure out what
exactly works for that dog. Going back to what I said
before, not everything is exactly the same, and something that
worked well for your last dog, might not be great for this
next dog that you have, and that’s a really
important thing to remember when you’re trying to break
through with a problem. – It’s a little more
difficult than you think to get all the dogs to just all hang out on top of one another. – (mumbles) you can’t even see Funky. – Yeah, Funky’s hiding behind Rat. (laughter) And everybody’s just waiting for some sort of release command it seems. They’re not of that agility mindset. – I really don’t know how
they have any energy left, because they trained all
through (mumbles) like a lot. – Yeah. I’m excited to see the (mumbles). I hope you guys learned
something, a little bit about tugging and playing with toys, if your dog doesn’t naturally love toys. But, now after doing lots of awesome stuff with our dogs, wanna remind
you to do something awesome with your dog today. Happy training!
– Bye! (upbeat music)

12 thoughts on “Teach Your Dog To LOVE Playing With Toys And How To Tug – Professional Dog Training Tips

  1. I just ran across your views and love them. I would like to ask can you teach a dog to play with toys if they do not show any interest. My little boy loves walk and car rides but never plays with toys. 😢 my other one is always playing ball. I love your poodle. I just lost my little boy a year ago.

  2. My dog likes tugging but stops after a little bit and wants me to throw the toy, I don't have any other dogs to make it a competition. What else can I do?

  3. I have a 5 year old chow chow.. Butt he does not like toys at all and is zero percent interested in them.. I have tried toys with pouches with treats in them but no interest.. He loves the treats but as soon as it's in the toy he becomes un interested in them.. Please help

  4. I have an 8 yr old chihuahua and his son, a 4 yr old chorkie. I recently got them from my uncle, who, in which, never really had time to take proper care of them. They were never properly socialized and never really had toys. I bought them some but they were never interested, they’re only interested in cuddling, pets, and tummy rubs

  5. I adopter a 4 year old shelter dog. She doesnt even look at her toys even if there is food involved. What can I do?

  6. First of all I'd like to apologise for my english. I had five difficult years of having a dog not playing with any toy. My dog is seven years old now. I found him two years old stray, already growned up and not interested in any kind of toys. The only thing that triggers him is food. At first I teached him to high five two years ago. But still when he comes across with a ball he avoides it, like a dodge ball player. So today was the day. After this video, I sayed to my self that I would try to teach my dog to play with a ball. I have an antistress ball very soft and bouncing. The one side has a little hole perfect to fit a small "reward" for my friend. I've put in there one treat and fill my pocket with plenty , to see how he will react. First I got his attention to the ball and every time he looked at it I reward him with the ones from my pocket.That was the first five minutes! Next five minutes I throwed the ball and as soon as he was going to it I gave him a treat! In the next few minutes he grabed the ball with his mouth and brought it to me. I almost cryed! I gave him all the treats I had in my pocket! For the rest half hour we are playing fetch in the living room and my husband left his office just to watch us playing finaly after all this time. My advice don't give up on your dog. Yours might need a lot of time but it's worth it!

  7. I recently adopted a 4-5 year old little mutt I named Daisy. She is well behaved but gets nervous when I leave her at home, I've tried getting her some differente toys but also don't want to break the bank going through toys until she likes one. The only thing that she really likes are chicken bones, I give her the big ones when I am cooking. She doesn't like pretty much anything else. I also had to teach her to walk on a leash and she definitely hasn't gotten to fetch yet. How can I get her to engage with a toy so when I'm not at home she's not just waiting for me?

  8. Hi, my dog is an ex working border collie. She has never had toys in her life, because she was always working, but now she is retired, I want to get her a cheap, simple toy. Do you have any recommendations?

  9. My dog is a year old and is intent on tearing apart any plush toys and eating what's inside. 🙂 Any suggestions on how to teach him to play gently with soft toys?

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