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Teaching New Toy

672 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  BigBlackDogGal
I bought my dog a Tug-A-Jug to keep him busy (in addition to his Kongs) when I leave. However, I can't get him very excited about it. I put some kibble and chicken bits inside and gave it to him. He sniffed it and walked off. I shook it to show him how treats come out, but he seemed less than enthused. This sounds silly, but how do I teach him how it works? I thought the chicken would be a high enough value treat to get his attention.

We've had a very tough week with his SA (I lost the blinds and the doorknob) and I'm really trying to think of ways to keep him distracted. This toy would be longer lasting than his kongs. I might try a buster cube too. But how do you introduce them to the dog?
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I had the same problem with Honey and a treat-dispensing ball. She didn't know what to do with it. Eventually I found that the way to get them interested is to make ANY interaction with the object rewarding.

If you clicker train, you can do this through shaping. You click and treat for him looking at it, then for him nosing it, then for him pushing it, then for him picking it up in his mouth...

Otherwise, you can do what I did. Freeze honey, peanut butter, yoghurt or mashed banana on the outside of the toy, or even on the rope. That way, any licking, chewing or sniffing of the toy is rewarding. Eventually he may get the hang of picking it up in his mouth or gnawing at the rope. Keep the treats loose at first so the rewards are easily accessible.

I found the thread I made about Honey and that ball:
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