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Do you have a dog training or equipment question?
Leerburg's Q&A database has 3350 entries from multiple categories.

 

Categories: Playing With Your Dog

Q. I haven't used a toy as a reward for training, only thrown toys for the dog to bring back. How do I break him from just wanting to chase toys?
Have not used a toy like this as a reward. As a matter of fact I have not used a toy at all to reward for bringing me back something I have tossed out. He loves to bring any ball i throw but not as a reward. So how do I break him away from just wanting to chase and bring back his ball to throwing something else entirely and then rewarding him with this throw ball I am now purchasing. He is around three (3) years old and has a very high prey/play drive so I think changing him from just returning with his favorite ball to something else entirely just might not be as easy I would like it to be.

I have purchased hundreds of dollars worth of your tapes and this is the first time for a question such as this. I am now waiting anxiously to read your response so I can get my German Shepherd, Rommel, on the correct path of training. Thanks for all your excellent products and I am sure this one will be no exception.

Gary

A. If you want to use a toy as a reward during training for a dog like yours, the key is to not play the usual fetch games that you have been. I’d recommend setting up a new communication system for the dog, where they learn how to access rewards (first food, then a tug and then eventually a ball).

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog

Once the dog understands the tug as a reward, then you can transfer to the ball. The reason we use the tug first is because it’s much easier to present and teach the proper out for this type of training. We don’t want the dog spitting the toy out onto the floor, we want to keep our hands on the item and then re-engage immediately after the out. This is very hard to do during the teaching phase with a ball.

I hope this helps. Cindy
  
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