kudzu Posted March 11, 2016 Share Posted March 11, 2016 (edited) After years out of the games, we're going back to training, mostly agility but also some obedience work. My girl Su has enough food drive that I could stick with that as a reward but I'd love to also use toys in training. There are times when toys are just more convenient. However, Su has only a small amount toy drive & almost no tug at all. She does have just enough toy drive that I think it worth my effort to encourage it. Am looking for ideas at encouraging it. Tennis balls are things she'll notice when rolling along the floor but rarely goes for. Large stuffies seem to be of the most interest. Those are not things I want to carry with me when training but could be a good starting point. My goal is to use a small tug toy or retrieval toy, things that are easy to carry, store out of sight on my body or nearby, and quick to use. The question is how to go about increasing her toy drive, starting with the large toys she already prefers, and transferring that to small items. Hopefully, I can get her to enjoy short tug games as well. Venus, my first Grey, was trained only with food & at times it was a struggle finding things with high enough value to get her really excited. (Su is more energetic & excitable to begin with, thank heavens.) She wasn't interested in toys during training and I never tried to encourage her to train with toys. However, later I did teach her to retrieve dropped items for me. To my surprise, after learning that she started to enjoy a game of fetch. We could take a break during a work day for a few reps of short distance fetching with a little Beanie toy. It was quite a surprise and a joy to watch her enjoying a game during an ordinarily boring work day. The little Beanie was much more convenient to have around than food rewards. Am looking to do something similar with Su but was hoping for a route there that didn't require training a working retrieve first. Don't really have much idea how to go about this. My first thought is to try shaping. Planning to keep the sessions very, very short. Will pick one toy just for this "game", bringing it out only when working on toy drive. That's what I did when trying to "add value" to specific toys, but that was for a dog who already had a lot of toy drive. There's even the funny sounding, but apparently sometimes successful approach of me playing with the toy by myself, pretending that I'm having the time of my life while the dog just watches. (That assumes she even watches.) That's not quite my style though so I've little confidence that would work. Does anyone have other ideas? Edited March 11, 2016 by kudzu Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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