Creating a Motivating Toy for your Dog

puppy playing ball

Some dogs are not always interested in playing with toys, but it's possible for you to create the desire with a little patience and work. You have to be interested in playing with your dog, for him to become interested as well. You should remove all the toys your dog might play with by himself with the exception of chew toys. (Nylon Bones…)

  • First you need to choose a throwable toy…something that you can toss but won't roll too far.

  • Attach a string or a lead about 10 feet long to the toy.
  • Put the toy in a drawer in an accessible room
  • Several times each day you need to do this exercise… (You will feel a bit silly, but who's watching anyway??)…Tease your dog with some enticing oohs…..and ahhhhs, ….what is this?…do you want this?…where's your toy?…etc. Act a bit silly as you move towards the drawer.
  • SLOWLY VERY SLOWLY open the drawer while you continue talking in an inviting and mysteriously silly way.
  • Stop talking for a second, and then suddenly pull the toy out of the drawer, as if you just found an unexpected treasure.
  • Take off running with the toy into the next room!
  • Swing the toy around and play with the toy as if you're having the time of your life. Toss the toy out to the end of the line and drag it aound on the floor in front of your dog…Don't let your dog get the toy!
  • Spend a minute or so playing with this wonderful and exciting toy. Then quickly run back to the drawer snatching up the toy and hide it again in it's original location. Say "oh no"! "It's gone"!
  • Proceed back to your normal routine as if nothing just happened.
  • Repeat this crazy performance about 2-3 times for two days. After the second day, allow your dog to get his mouth on the toy, but only for a few seconds. pull on the line to try and steal it from him. Once you get it away (do it in a fun way), play with it a little more by yourself before quickly putting the toy away with "Uh Oh, it's gone"!
  • Gradually increase the amount of time you let him play with the toy, in a tug o'war, each time you bring it out until you have a dog who loves to see the toy come out of the drawer.
  • During training, do not scold your dog or connect this toy with anything negative.
Note: Once your dog is playing with you, continue to keep this a special toy. don't leave it out for him to chew on or play with without you. Use it during other trainings as a reward toy and for building enthusiasm.

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