The Best Puppy Training Tool That You’re NOT Using

do you feel like your puppy training is missing something now we reference using food a lot as a reward and motivator for your dog's training but there's actually something else that you could be using in your training that's going to increase speed drive and motivation we're going to talk today about how awesome it is to use toys in your training but it's not just about using toys it's actually about how to use them properly there's going to be certain exercises that toys are going to be great for certain exercises that they're not and also how to use them in situations where your dog might be a little bit distracted and it's hard to get their attention we can make it look really easy with how much attention and focus we get from these puppies in our videos now we do use food to get their attention but something that we also always incorporate is a toy now after today's video you may realize that this is the one thing that you could be missing in your training that's going to make all the difference i'm kale mccann this is 14 week old border collie puppy smooch welcome back to mccann dogs [Music] so let's talk about the value of toys in your training there's actually a lot of dogs out there that sometimes lack motivation to work or maybe they just don't seem that interested in doing stuff with you and it could be that you need to use a different motivator to get your dog a little bit more engaged now i really like to use both food and toys but there are certain things that i find toys can really enhance when i'm training my puppy i'm going to show you some specific training exercises that are awesome for teaching with a toy but i also want to let you know some of the other values that i find helps when you're using a toy in your training thank you hi one of the things that i find can really be great about using a toy is it can really enhance some speed and drive so if you're looking to get a little bit faster response from your dog a little quicker reaction using a toy reward can often amp the dog up and in some cases that can actually really be beneficial to certain exercises that you're teaching the other thing that's awesome especially if you have a young energetic dog is that when you train using toys as a reward they get tired way faster now in some cases maybe that's not what you're looking for if you're looking to prolong your training session but i know if i've just come home from a you know a long day at work and i need to do something with a puppy and i want them to get tired out quickly i will choose exercises that i can use with my toy so that i can play and tug and retrieve in between my little training skills and that tires the puppy out a little bit more it exhausts some of that pent-up energy all while making sure that we're doing things together um so that we're using all that energy for good rather than for evil i talked earlier about the importance of an interactive toy and i wanted to talk a little bit more specifically about what an interactive toy is because the type of toy that you use in your training is actually really important now the toy i've used to train with smooch today is one of his absolute favorites it's just a long sort of furry toy that he can easily grab one end i can easily grab the other so that we can play together safely types of toys that you want to avoid using are things that are hard for your puppy to grab onto you wouldn't want to use a chew bone or anything like that you need to use something that's light and fluffy and really fun for your puppy to sink their teeth into when you call your puppy's name or you use a recall do you find that your puppy's lacking a little bit of drive and intensity when they're moving towards you i find sometimes when you can incorporate a toy into training those particular exercises you can actually ramp up their their dedication and their motivation to get towards you now i'm going to show you a little bit about how i do that with our puppies hey bud now i've already put a lot of value hey i've already put a lot of value can you get it into playing and tugging with this toy so he understands that this is a really fun game so what i'm actually gonna do is use this play you can see he's really into it i'm gonna use this play to make a reward for moving to me when i call him now the toy is just one element this is the reward i'm also going to use really crazy fun happy tones with my voice and i'm also going to use running away adding motion away yes good boy naturally sort of ignites that dog's chase drive and gets them to move towards you so putting all those things together i'm going to show you how to work the toy into your response to name or your recall exercise smooch has already had some training on teaching him to respond to his name so i'm going to test him today but i am going to use the toy as a bit of a reward so i'm going to start off by just sort of letting him get a little bit distracted and when i call him if he turns and looks at me i'm going to take off and run smooch yes so i'm gonna run around like a lunatic i'm gonna let him have the toy good boy oh that's so good now i'm gonna end with a bit of control ouch good boy yes excellent good boy you can even reward for this yes get it good boy so he sat so nice and attentive there i can actually reward him by letting him do exactly what he wants to do and that's jump around and play with the toy good boy you may have watched that last demonstration and think like wow that's great that looks great but my puppy won't drop the toy like that so i'm actually going to show you a trick that you can use to get your dog to drop the toy a little bit more easily especially if your dog's not that into food you can actually use another toy now i want to remind you guys that if your dogs don't have some of those obedient skills already where they will give the toy up and trade you don't want to necessarily start using your toy in all of your different training exercises until you start with this first so let me just show you how to get the dog to drop the toy so i'm going to get them engaged with one toy truck i'm going to let them get on it what i'm going to do is stop wiggling this one around so it's not as exciting and i'm going to switch them to the other toy out yes yay good boy so i'm going to stop tugging with one toy and i'm going to shake around the other one so i'm going to hold it still out yes get it oh okay so this is interesting this puppy is showing that this toy is clearly the favorite so oh good boy that was a good decision so knowing when my dog starts to show me that there's one toy that's more valuable than the other i need to make sure that this is my finished toy then i'm gonna start with this one when he drops it i'm gonna then use this one you can have it as his reward it's just like if we were to trade in you had five bucks and i had a toonie and i said can you trade me you wouldn't be very into that so i need to be very aware to what my dog feels is more valuable so i'm going to actually get rid of this toy and i'm going to hide it away a little bit and i'm going to get him on this one i'm going to get him tugging i'm going to sneak this other one out good boy get it get it get it get it i'm going to get him on a little bit harder there we go now he's attached out yes good boy good boy excellent so i'm always going to use that higher value reward to get them to drop good boy now of course you could always trade your puppy for food as well if your puppy was had a really tasty treat like steak or chicken wiener or something that was really high value but you don't have to be limited to food you also can just use a toy i hope you've noticed that smooch when he tugs really does a lot of growling and he sounds really crazy now i know that when we're doing this this growling sound is a sign of enjoyment there's no malice behind it he's simply just having a good time and one of the things that's really important when you start to play with your puppy if you are getting a little bit of growling is really consider you know whether you have control so i have no problem with him really getting into the thick of things provided that i have enough control that i can start the game and stop the game now there's some myths out there that say that you should never tug and do this type of crazy play with your puppy because it can make them dominant or aggressive and that's simply not true if you teach your dog that there are some rules so you know from a very young age he learned that you can't just grab toys whenever you want to we would start off with a little bit of control so if i hold the toy up here good boy when he was a puppy if he would lunge for it i would just pull the toy away i would work a sit if he was able to hold the sit good boy yes get it then i would give him permission to play so he can be crazy as he wants but at the end of the day it's me who's in charge that starts and stops the game so don't don't be too alarmed by the growling if you are concerned at all then stop the play maybe speak to a professional and get a little bit more insight about it but this type of growling is simply just pure enjoyment we've just switched locations to do a bit more training with smooch outside our dog school in the parking lot and there are people milling around and there's a few distractions uh that are here and the next thing i want to talk to you about is how you can use your toys to help you in situations where the food maybe isn't enough so if your dog's highly distracted it is common that some dogs you know you could feel like you put a steak in front of their face and they're just not interested if you know that they have a favorite toy you can use this as their form of reward now what i'm going to do is i'm actually going to start off with more basic exercises so i'm not going to do you know a crazy distraction and a really hard skill all at the same time i'm going to start simple and i'm going to build from there so we're literally going to start with just some sits and downs i'm gonna ditch my food and i'm gonna use my toy hi what's this good boy ready sit yes get it good boy now notice when i said sit i stood up nice and tall look a little bit more like a leader and i also have my leash loose now he is on a leash to make sure i maintain control and safety good boy good sit down whoops down okay good boy yes get it good boy okay so we'll talk about that first i was trying to go further down but i was getting a little bit of distraction so rather than just standing and saying down down down a million times without paying attention now i'm just focusing on getting some attention yes good boy if he chooses to look at me we're going to have a little game of tug so i'm actually just going to re sort of root my training here and get him a bit more focused and this is what dog training is all about it's about picking the right thing for that dog in the moment good voice i'm gonna take the toy from him good oh now i'm getting more natural attention good boy down yes get it yay there we go now i have some attention good boy out good boy okay sit beautiful okay good boy nice good sit yes get it good point now he's acing this but i'm holding the toy right in front of his face while i'm practicing this and i'm doing that to help him be more successful but i don't want to have to hold a toy out every single time i want him to learn so this time or want him to listen this is what i'm going to do is i'm going to take the toy and hide it away i'm going to ask him for the behavior and if he responds i'm going to then bring the toy out so now it's acting more as a reward rather than a lure hip hop good boy good sit yes get it good boy get that ding get it get it get it get it get it out good point okay i'm just gonna wait for him to disengage yes good voice it oh you're so smart yes get it do you see how he's actually starting to respond to the behaviors before i can actually get a reward in or get a command in and that's because he's starting to figure out that when he listens really fun things happen and because of this drive for the toy i can actually start getting him to listen in environments that are a little bit more busy because he knows that the reward is something that he really truly loves we love to use toys in our training to work on building motivation drive intensity in our work with our pups but there are some uh puppy skills that require a little bit more precision and for those you're gonna find that using food can be a little easier to calm the mind to get a little bit more thoughtfulness and as your puppy starts to get the hang of it you can then start to incorporate things like tugging and toys we've just come into the agility arena here and now smooch doesn't know any agility yet he's just a puppy but he has spent a little time in here and he's already learned that when you come in this building there is lots of fun stuff so the moment we walked through those doors he was actually much more distracted than he was in the other locations so i'm actually going to take an opportunity to practice a little bit of attention and follow in here using my toy as a reward this is going to be really great for those of you who have dogs that maybe don't pay attention quite as much this is a really fun follow game that you can use with food but it's especially fun if you use it with a toy so i'm just going to start off by having my leash gathered up so i have control and i'm going to start off by letting my toy be part of the exercise to make it a little easier for him and then we can progress from there so i'm just going to show him the toy good i'm just going to move around a little bit yes good boy if he chooses to follow me i'm going to stop and yes and have a little tug and play with him good boy yes good boy out good boy okay wow good boy good yes yeah good boy so when i move around i'm gonna move around quite swiftly you can see my pace i'm changing direction often that's to keep my puppy engaged i'm actually going to see how he does when i move sort of like a normal person out good okay he automatically disengages me but if i move like this good boy oh look at that good boy yes see how that movement yes good boy really changes the attention so you got to put a little into it if you're expecting your young puppy to really pay attention to you we don't want to be a bump in a log and sort of move it around nice and slow move with quick changes of pace and also incorporate your voice you always have your voice on you and that paired with a little game of tug can go a really long way especially to get it in a really distracting environment maybe you have a dog that's already showing a lot of natural motivation to work and play with toys but maybe you have a dog that is not that interested in toys quite yet so i want you to check out a link in the description below all about how to teach your dog to be more motivated by toys so that you can do some of these exercises as well using toys in your training is a great way to build that motivation but we've also referenced using food in this video as well now a really common feeling is that a lot of people are apprehensive to use food because they feel they're going to become very dependent on it now we have a video specifically about how to make sure that doesn't happen to you so make sure you click that card right there if you're looking for some more guidance on puppy training and you'd like to work with one of us to get more specific tips on training your puppy make sure you check out the link in the description below to find out more about our puppy essentials online program on that note i'm kale this is smooch happy training


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