How to Train Your Rescue Dog to Play

Easy
1-3 Weeks
Fun

Introduction

He’s been nothing but cute and adorable since you got him. You’re not sure about his past but you’ve got enough love for your rescue dog to make up for anything. While he is getting more relaxed and comfortable around you, he’s still got quite a way to go. You take out toys to try and encourage him to play around with you, but he remains timid and shy. He’s not interested in tug of war, or fetch. It’s the same when you’re on walks. You try and throw balls and frisbees but he just looks up at you, puzzled. 

You’re not quite sure what to do, but you know training him to play at the very least will be good exercise. Not only is it a fantastic way to blow off steam, but it will also be a great bonding experience. 

Defining Tasks

The good news is, bringing the playful side out of your dog out will just take time and perseverance. You need to gradually let his walls come down by motivating him with tasty treats and irresistible toys. If you can make him feel safe and play games where he feels in control, you’ll soon have him tumbling around with you. If he’s a puppy it will be easiest. He’ll be full of energy, more trusting and keen to learn. You could see results in just several days. If he’s older and more nervous then you may need to invest two or three weeks into training.

Succeed with this training and you’ll have a great way to keep him happy and jolly. You’ll also be able to give him a decent amount of exercise, that sees him dozing at your feet in the evenings. 

Getting Started

Before you get to work you’ll need to gather a few bits. You’ll need a decent array of toys. You’ll need tennis balls, a football, frisbees, and some food puzzles. The brighter colored and more enticing they look the better. You’ll also need a generous supply of tasty treats.

Try and find 10 minutes each day to commit to training. Some training can be done on your daily walk, and some can be done in a quiet space at home, away from valuable TVs that might get broken.

Once you’ve got all that, you’re ready to get to work!

The Gentle Encouragement Method

Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Food puzzles
Before you can train him to play properly, you need to get him familiar with toys in his own space. That means giving him a toy for him to play around without you getting involved. A food puzzle is a great first toy. He can play with it on his own and he’ll be entertained for hours.
Step
2
Toys in his bed
Now leave a couple of toys in his bed in the evenings. You want him to feel like they belong to him. Plus, if they smell like him they’ll feel even more like part of his territory. This will all make him feel more comfortable when it comes to playing with them.
Step
3
Tug of war
Now spend a few minutes a day gently playing with the toys. Encourage him to put it one his mouth and then pull on it. A game of tug of war is a great bonding experience. Make sure you always let him win, though. If he loses he’ll quickly give up trying.
Step
4
Reward
Reward him with treats throughout play. You need to make him feel as relaxed and happy as possible. If he thinks he’ll get a tasty reward for playing, he’ll soon be jumping out of his bed in search of a playmate.
Step
5
Keep it fun
Always keep it light hearted. That means talking in a high pitched and animated voice. It means stroking him, cuddling him and letting him be in charge when you play. If you do this each day he’ll feel more and more at ease, and increasingly eager to play.
Recommend training method?

The Management Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Choose accordingly
If he’s nervous and shy, you need to find a game that he wants to play. You can skip half the battle if you find a game that his breed may naturally enjoy playing anyway. Retrievers, for example, will naturally enjoy playing fetch. Terriers would be good candidates for tug of war.
Step
2
Toy appeal
To get him initially interested in the toys, put a bit of food on them. Spreading a little bit of peanut butter will do the trick. He’ll then be drawn to it anyway and associate toys with tasty rewards.
Step
3
Get involved
Wait for him to feel comfortable with the toys himself, then slowly get involved yourself. You can roll a ball towards him, or shake a toy in front of him. Just make sure it’s on his terms. Eventually he’ll relax and get involved, just be patient.
Step
4
Frisbee
Most dogs will love chasing brightly colored frisbees. So, when you’re out on a walk, wipe some food on it and then dangle it in front of his face. Really get him excited and worked up, then throw it while he’s watching. If he doesn’t show initial interest, charge after it with him. If he sees you running, he’ll quickly take flight himself.
Step
5
Short stints
Only play for a few minutes each day to start with. You want play time to be something he looks forward to, so don’t over indulge him. Then as the days pass you can play for longer and longer. Once he’s totally relaxed you can leave the toys out for him to pick them up whenever he wants.
Recommend training method?

The Soccer Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Head outside
Take him outside into the yard or to a local field. Make sure you have a soccer under your arm and a pocket full of treats. Soccer is a great game to get him playing. He has the space to run around which will make him feel safe, plus the pressure isn’t all on him.
Step
2
Kick it in his direction
Kick the ball gently towards him. If he doesn’t naturally touch it, encourage him to. You can do that by running towards it, pointing at it and talking in an animated voice. Dogs mirror their owner's behavior so if he sees you excited he’ll soon feel the same way.
Step
3
Reward
As soon as he touches the ball, give him a tasty treat and shower him in attention. Really make him feel on top of the world. The greater the reward, the more eager he’ll be to play again.
Step
4
Practice
Always keep it light hearted and play around for a few minutes each day to start with. Once he’s got the hang of it and he’s enjoying it, you can play for longer and longer. Not only will it be great exercise, but he’ll be having a fantastic time with his owner.
Step
5
Lose the treats
When he’s comfortable and happy playing, you can slowly cut out the treats. He no longer needs a tasty incentive, he’s excited enough just playing around with you. Once he’s comfortable with soccer, you’ll find he’ll be keen to play with any toy, especially if it’s a ball!
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Sunshine
Akita
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Sunshine
Akita
6 Years

She doesn’t eat treats or play with toys. She was an Amish dog.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kearstine, Check out the videos linked below for tips on getting your dog engaged in play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Z0EOHPNfI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-uUQE32FuU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CayIwwXqzuA Pay attention to what pup likes. Some dogs are motivated by food or toys, but others find things like affection, a walk, an odd object, verbal praise, things like flirt poles, or movement rewarding. Once you know what pup likes, you can also use that things to reward pup or engage pup in fun. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Fluffers
Pomer
3 Years
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Fluffers
Pomer
3 Years

I just brought my new dog home. Her previous person rehomed her but I don’t know why. I have no idea what her previous life was like other than I almost think she was carried everywhere and probably kept her in her lap most of the time. She has been here for 2 days and has no idea how to walk on a leash, I have one step outside and she absolutely will not go up it. She had no idea what her name was. And if she isn’t sitting in a chair with someone she just goes in circles all over the house. Around the table, the couch just circles. When I take her outside she just makes circles. I don’t think she even knows how to jump....i have had many dogs and I have never seen anything like it. Also, other than when she is sleeping she just pants like she can’t relax. Is this just because she needs to adjust to her new home?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Aimee, Adjusting could be part of it but there is probably something bigger going on, like possibly her up bringing or obsessive compulsive behavior. I suggest teaching her a Place command and working up to her being able to stay on Place for up to an hour gradually. Place should help with the anxiety, self-control, and building more healthy independence - she will probably pant or whine a lot at first while practicing place, that's normal while she is learning to be more independent at first since being self-controlled and still without you will be challenging at first. Practice other structured activities to build her confidence and teach calmness also. With this type of behavior you want to stimulate her mind, work on self-control and independence, and not feel sorry for her and overly sooth. Instead, act confident and happy, and expect that she can learn some new things with your help. For the leash walking, check out the article linked below to get her used to the pressure of a leash first - work on this before you attempt a formal heel or other leash work. Heel will come next, after she is comfortable with the leash. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Other good, confidence building, calming things to work with her on: Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Confidence building agility fun - you can make your own obstacles out of household things or PVC pipe, or purchase. Practicing any type of safe jumps, tunnels, odd surfaces, duration work, or overcoming new obstacles in general can help a nervous dog. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Omi
None
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Omi
None
4 Years

Good day. I have a problem with my five year old dog. I adopted her two months ago. she spent a year in an animal shelter. she can't take things to her mouth or bite hard things, but she is slowly getting used to it. the problem is that he completely doesn't want to play. because of her unpleasant past, no fun was taught. not chasing a stick or ball. he doesn't understand what's going on. I am asking for help, because I do not know how to teach her to play with a ball or jerk it with a jerk. I will add that she gives up very quickly. she is very submissive when I try to take something out of her mouth, she immediately captures it

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maja, Check out the video linked below. I don't suggest using tugs as pup to get pup excited due to her disliking things in her mouth, but notice the way he uses movement and excitement to engage pup and praises any attempts at playing. Games like fetch are more likely to be enjoyed by pup than tug it sounds like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-uUQE32FuU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CozW9Mpfmns It also might be worth looking into other types of play for her - like setting up agility type obstacles, teaching tricks, playing come games like hide and seek, go find it, and round robin, or using things like puzzle toys to seek out treats. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

I am sorry. She don't captures it, she drop it. Sorry

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Lulu
black mouth cur
7 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Lulu
black mouth cur
7 Years

We are a 2 adult, 1 dog household. Lulu is 7 and her humans are in their 40's. Lu came to us by way of Maui humane society. We met Lu just after her 3rd birthday, and after her big move from Hawaii to Seattle where we adopted her from the humane society near our home at that time. The 3 of us have since moved to Duluth, MN.
One consistent challenge that has been present for all 4 years that Lu has lived with us, is that she does not seem to be comfortable around other dogs. She shows interest and can be near other dogs for 30 sec-1 minutes and then
-appears to become overstimulated
-tries to retreat or
-demonstrates behavior of a resource guarder and/or jealous of affection toward the other dog
-toy aggressive. She does not know how to play with other dogs but will happily play fetch and tug with any human, anytime!
We have had some moderate success with gradually introducing Lu to some close family dogs, taken walks with the neighbors and their 2 dogs on leash, and even had mild success mingling at the dog park a few times off leash. Lulu frequents the dog park 2-3 a week year-round. Mostly we stick to the dog run area intended for 20lbs and under. Of course, we exit the park as the area is requested by small dog owners but this rarely if ever occurs at this particular dog park. Lu seems to enjoy sniffing 1 in 20 dogs as they arrive at the dog park but mostly she remains obsessively focused on playing fetch with me.

BIG Goal: It would seem that Lu would occasionally like to venture over to the big area but does not know how to socialize appropriately. She bays on these mornings and it breaks my heart that I don't have the skill or the confidence to socialize her properly.
I would like to see her and I both more able to be flexible with whichever group of dogs show up to the dog park. She tends to have big reactions to persistent dogs who try to engage her to play or chase. Lu turns into a grump and bares her teeth if not left alone or able to flee the gate and start home. One other detail is that we live a mile from the dog park and we walk, not drive to get there.

A smaller, perhaps more achievable goal: I'd like to get us to a point where she can meet strange dogs on leash and not react as though she feels threatened. Her ever-present and deep desire to please me goes out the window when we encounter unknown dogs, and about 80% of the time she goes into guard dog mode, her hackles go up and barks about 50% of the time.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I would strongly suggest that you look into having a private trainer come to the house and work with you and Lulu. The trainer can go through your wonderfully detailed and helpful list, helping you to tackle each point. Doing so is well worth the time and the financial investment to enable you to feel confident as a pet owner and really be able to enjoy Lulu and all she has to offer. You mention not having the skill or confidence to socialize her. A trainer can help! Ask around at the dog park for references or inquire with your vet. You are a very caring pet parent - good luck!

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Question
Bella
Cocker Spaniel x Poodle
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Bella
Cocker Spaniel x Poodle
3 Years

Bella is a rescue and has come along way. She was likely not socialized with dogs or people well. She won't play with our other dog (who's very playful) or toys. She can become jealous of the other dog (Apollo) as well. We have had her 1.5 years at this time. Otherwise she is very affectionate and loving, obedient. Any ideas?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kia, Check out the video linked below. I would start by working on motivating her with toys. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Z0EOHPNfI Some older dogs who were never socialized with toys still don't enjoy them. In that case I recommend finding other ways to play with pup. I suggest training games, like hiding treats for pup to find, agility type obstacles, puzzle toys with food, round robin type come games, and scent games. For the jealousy, I suggest teaching both dogs the Out command (which means leave the area) and make whoever is causing issues leave the area as needed. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if pup comes over to your other dog when he is trying to leave, tell pup Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your other dog, blocking pup from getting to her, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your other dog. If Bella growls at Apollo, make her leave the room while also disciplining Apollo for antagonizing first if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your dogs - you want them to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for them to learn respect for each other because you have taught it to them and not because they have used aggression. Teach both dogs the Place command and work up to having them both stay on their separate Place beds calmly for 1-2 hours. This is a great calming, self-control building, and tolerance exercise. It also helps get them both in a working, more respectful mindset while in the same room as each other. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Finally, work on manners and building respect and trust for you with both dogs. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jasmine
Foxhound
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Jasmine
Foxhound
4 Years

She's a former hunting dog and lived outside her whole life, so she doesn't know what toys are, or how to play with them.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jack, Check out the video linked below for some things to try. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Z0EOHPNfI Zak also has several other videos on his youtube channel that talk about ways to motivate dogs, how to teach fetch, and ways to have fun with your dog training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Kilee
Collie
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Kilee
Collie
2 Years

She is a recent rescue - lived life in a barn kennel and used as a puppy machine. She has low energy, sleeps late and it's hard to get her to just be a dog. Loves walks and is getting less jumpy. Advice on gaining her trust and introducing toys and play? She has no clue!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ki, First, know that time just being around you will usually help a lot. Check out the article I have linked below also though, and the section on shy dogs and humans. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ As far as play, I would work on building trust and giving pup some time first. Once they are comfortable around you, check out the video linked below for an example of how to get pup excited about play. Also, I would try some training games too, like treat hiding games, hide and seek come, puzzle toys stuffed with food, rubber hollow chew toys with treats in them, and different types of toys like flirt poles, tug toys, squeeky toys (don't leave pup with those unattended in case they get the squeaker out), balls, frisbees, ect...Pup probably won't like all toys but you may find a specific type they love - you will have the best luck with this once pup is more confident around you though. https://www.google.com/search?q=zak+george+how+to+get+your+dog+to+play+with+toys&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS909US909&oq=zak+george+&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j69i59l3j0i457j46l2j0.7243j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=_OqSRX-2qN5GqtQW-wpSIDQ22 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Summer
Crossbreed
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Summer
Crossbreed
8 Months

Summer is a Romanian rescue dog who is very nervous. We need games that will be suitable for her which will make her want to play with us and also independently.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hi there! I am going to give you some tips that will build her overall confidence. It is likely with practice and some mild changes, his behaviors will start to resolve themselves over the next few months. So patience is key! There are several methods you can use to improve your fearful dog´s confidence. As far as her ears, she may be keeping them flat because she is so timid. Hopefully with building her confidence, her ears will stand up also. 1. Work on obedience training. Daily obedience work, even when it is only for a short time, provides submissive dogs with a lot of confidence. Family members are proud of dogs that perform on command and dogs pick up on this feeling. If the obedience training is harsh, though, a submissive dog will just get worse. Find a positive reinforcement and reward-based training class in your area. If the trainer works with a discipline-based system, it is not appropriate for a submissive dog. 2. Socialize your dog as much as possible to make them adaptable. The sensitive socialization period for your dog ended when she was a puppy, about 15 weeks of age, but she can still be socialized as an older dog, it is just going to take a lot more work. To socialize your dog, take her out as much as possible, let her meet new people, let her meet your friends dogs (if they are friendly with other dogs), and let her run free at the dog park so that she will meet new dogs. (Some dogs will be too nervous to play at the dog park so this phase may only come later.) 3. Give your dog a job or get her involved in a canine sport. Most dogs are not able to "work", however, so in order to give them an activity to build their confidence, it is a good idea to get them involved in one of the canine sports. Flyball, agility, Frisbee, dock diving, and other activities may be available in your area. 4. Use counter-conditioning techniques to help her overcome fear. This is the best but also the hardest (for you!) of the methods available to treat a submissive dog. For each thing that your dog is afraid of, you have to train her to have a pleasant feeling. When a dog is no longer afraid of the situation, he is confident and no longer going to be submissive. If you decide to try to build her confidence through counter-conditioning, the first thing you have to identify is the trigger. What is stimulating your dog to be so submissive? If she is only afraid of one thing it is easier to train her; unfortunately, most submissive dogs are afraid of almost everything. Spend some time with your dog to become familiar with her fears. The next step is to teach him that the scary thing is actually a good thing. When she is exposed to the scary object, give her a tasty treat and let her relax around the object without any pressure. The final step in counter-conditioning your dog to face her fears is to expose her and not provide a treat or even notice that he is being exposed. If you need more help on using counter-conditioning, the animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell has a book that I have found to be useful. The techniques are great and will help your dog develop confidence but as with most behavior modification, takes patience and persistence. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!

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Question
Hugo
Chihuahua
3 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Hugo
Chihuahua
3 Years

Hi, i just adopted a dog 5 days ago and he is so picky eater and he doesn’t get excited over treats nor toys. Im trying to get him to play with me but he doesn’t seem want to play and he just sleeps all the time. How to get him to okay with me? bc I can’t do it by overing him treats. Thank you

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello Riska, Check out the video linked below. Notice the way he uses movement and excitement to engage pup and praises any attempts at playing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-uUQE32FuU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CozW9Mpfmns It also might be worth looking into other types of play for him - like setting up agility type obstacles, teaching tricks, playing come games like hide and seek, go find it, and round robin. I would test out different toys to see if pup is toy motivated. If so, toys can be used as rewards in training instead of food. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Brutus
Blue Heeler
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Brutus
Blue Heeler
3 Years

Hi, I have a smart eager to learn dog however when he was little (roughly 2yr ago) I was playing fetch with him, which he loved. Unfortunately when the ball was thrown was too close to the vege patch with an electric fence on and sadly Brutus was zapped. Kicking myself for not checking it to be off pre playing, rue that day!!! Ever since Brutus will not play fetch, his cousin dogs do, his brothers do as well which he plays with from time to time, are all excited to play fetch, Brutus wants to but resists each time. Also he lives with his mum still ( parents dog) and she tends to mother him somewhat although at same time he is protective and alfa male.
Brutus is a fantastic swimmer, loves to play, play wrestles, listens well, affectionate, is obedient and well mannered gentle dog, just refuses to play fetch of any sort. Also think his mum is telling him not to? We have separated them on occasions to give him a chance but doesn’t seem to make any difference. We have tried endlessly to coax and play fetch, has an array of toys etc. I know it will take time and energy but think he is more than worth the effort.
I work full time but my family said they will help train Brutus also if needed.
Do you have any suggestions? Can you help?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! How unfortunate. It always seems those sorts of things happen when they are performing desirable behaviors, not jumping or barking! Dogs learn by association so as you know, he quickly associated the negative outcome with playing fetch. You may want to start completely fresh with teaching fetch. Potentially with something he has never played with before. Or some sort of treat stuffed toy. I have included steps for re-training fetch. A different/new approach may help. Step 1: Introduce the Fetch Toy Once you’ve picked out a good toy, introduce it to your dog so they start to get excited about fetch. Place the toy near you. As your dog gets close to it, click, praise, and give a treat. If they touch their nose to the toy, click, praise heavily, and give treats. Continue this process until your dog reeeally likes the toy. Step 2: Move the Fetch Toy Around Now that your dog is starting to figure out that touching the fetch toy means treats, start moving it around so they have to move to get to it. Don’t throw the toy yet, or even move it very far. Simply hold the toy in slightly different positions — at arm’s length — and encourage your dog to touch it. Each time they touch the toy, click, treat, and praise. Continue this little dance until you’re sure the behavior has stuck. Dog Catching FrisbeeStep 3: Get Your Dog to Grab the Fetch Toy Now it’s time to start rewarding your dog when they actually grab the toy with their mouth. This can take a little patience on your part. The key is to watch your dog’s behavior and reward when it starts to look like the behavior you want. Place the toy on the ground at about arm's length. If your dog moves from touching their nose to the toy and begins using their mouth, it's time to click, praise, and treat. Each time they get a little closer to biting the toy, continue to reward. If and when they pick up the toy with their mouth, act like it’s the best thing you’ve ever seen (and don’t forget to click and give treats). Remember that your dog will be looking to you for reassurance that they’re on the right track Step 4: Play Little Games of Indoor Fetch At this point, your dog should know that placing the toy in their mouth means they get a treat. The next phase is perhaps the trickiest, but you only need to follow the same method of rewarding small steps toward success. Toss the toy a few feet away from you. When they pick it up, click, treat, and praise. Continue this until they understand what they’re supposed to do. Then toss the toy and encourage your dog to bring it back to you. When they do, click, treat, and praise. Step 5: Throw the Fetch Toy Farther Once your dog has realized that they get treats when they get their toy and bring it back, start "upping the ante" by throwing the toy farther. It might help to find a hallway (which will reduce distractions) and toss the fetch toy farther and farther away. With each successful fetch, offer treats and praise, then toss the toy a little farther. Repeat as many times as necessary for your dog to understand what this fetch game is all about. Step 6: Add Some Words This part is optional. If you would like to add a marker word like “fetch,” now is the time to do so (when your dog is successfully fetching their toy). Say the word before throwing the toy, then lay it on heavy with treats and praise when they successfully fetch for you and say something like “good fetch.” Of course, it’s not necessary to say “fetch” or another similar word. By this point, your dog has probably learned to enjoy the game itself — with or without a verbal cue.

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Broch
Collie mix
18 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Broch
Collie mix
18 Months

Broch (Brokh) is a rescue from Cyprus. He doesn’t know how to play with toys and only bites (nips) as if he’s playing with other dogs. I have used squeaky toys as well as food toys but he’s not interested.
It would be good if I can get him to play and enjoy toys in order that I can reward him in other training

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
836 Dog owners recommended

Hello David, Check out Zak George from the video linked below. I also recommend finding some other games that can engage pup, like puzzle toys, kong wobbles with food, toys stuffed with kibble, and training games like Round Robin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Z0EOHPNfI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtpLvumSTzI Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd