Dogs put toys in their mouth.
True!
And socks, toilet paper, leaves, shoes, remote controls, and more.
Also, very true!!
So…..
Your pup or dog putting items into their mouth is not a bad behavior, it is just another behavior!
We could (and should) spend some time working on LEAVE IT and DROP but what if…
What if we really teach our pups how much we love them grabbing their toys. How much more fun would training be? How much more success would we have?

Let’s get to it!

Grab that one special toy, clicker, treats and get ready to play!

  • If my dog loves her stuffed Dinosaur,  I will drop the Dino and say, “Get your Dino!
  • When she puts her mouth on it, or simply looks at the dino or orients towards it, I click and treat.
    • Shaping the behavior,  by capturing with a click and treat, a look at the toy or a nose bump to the toy will bring you and pup tons of success that you can build on until you graduate to your pup grabbing their toy!
  • Your pup should easily release the toy for the treat. We call this the exchange program and will quickly start to name it DROP or GIVE when the behavior is more reliable.
  • Get reliability by dropping the toy and trading it for a treat a few times, then start to associate the word DROP and behavior.
  • Add a second toy to your practice.   When you introduce the second toy, simply put it a little further away from your training space and ONLY click and treat the moment your pup grabs the the initial toy.
  • Ignore pup if the second toy becomes what they are engaging with.  Pull the attention back to the initial toy by playing with it, dragging it on the floor, or bouncing it.
  • Drop the favorite toy as you use its name and continue to click and treat correct responses several times.
  • Next, put the two toys together on the floor about a foot apart side by side and ask her to touch or grab the favorite, named, toy.
  • If she grabs the wrong toy just ignore the behavior and request the other one again. It is ok to re-cue your dog to the right toy by looking at it or pointing to it.
  • Repeat until pup is choosing the right toy most of the time.
Once your dog has a clear understanding that her toy has been named start to add more toys to the mix.  Did you know, that Tessa the border collie knows the name of over a 1,000 of her toys??  Let’s see who can compete with that!

About Gwen Podulka

Gwen is a certified professional dog trainer with over 20 years experience and proud owner of TRAINED.

Her journey began with the adoption of a deaf Dalmatian, launching her into the world of agility and teaching at the Humane Society in Columbus Ohio while managing bookstores across the Greater Lakes area.

Her love of the dogs and people took her cross country to train service dogs with Canine Companions for Independence for people with disabilities.

Gwen has continued her education through out the years finding a passion teaching classes, a love of DC’s incredi-bullies, and an ability to read and help people work with their reactive dogs through a multitude of issues using positive training methods.

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