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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. – 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. – 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)


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