Training is relatively easy once you find out what is your dog’s ‘currency’. Most would ‘sit’, ‘speak’ or ‘roll over’ for treats but there are a few exceptions. For these exceptions, treats do not interest them as much as toys. These dogs are called ‘play driven’ dogs. They are more likely to be smarter, energetic and love to play games.
Training a play driven dog can be a little tricky because simple things bore them. They can get distracted by the colourful butterfly on the window if it is more animated than you are. But if you keep some tricks in mind, you are going to train your play driven dog to perfection.
Teaching ‘Come’ Through Play
You can teach your dog ‘come when called’ through a simple game of fetch. Start slow, i.e. in a small room where you are close to each other and slowly move to bigger places. Dogs love to chase and tug. So, when you throw a toy, a play driven dog is likely to run behind it.
The tricky part starts when they reach the toy. How will they know they are supposed to bring it back to you? Some dogs are a natural, they bring it right back, while others need a little time to figure it out. Remember that with play driven dogs you have to be very animated. The more interesting you appear the more likely they are to run right back to you. Sometimes they leave their toy and run to you. This is when you can run to the toy and try to make the toy more interesting (by wiggling it or moving it around) so that they pick it up. If you repeat this a few times your dog will learn to come through the game of fetch. They will understand that if they come, they have fun and games waiting for them.
Teaching Tricks With Toys
What if you want to teach them tricks? Crowd pleasers? Yes, you can do that through play as well. Remember, their favourite toy should be their reward and their favourite game should be the medium through which they get the toy. So, if your dog loves to play tug, play an interactive game of tug with their favourite toy each time they come closer to learning a new trick. If they love to play fetch, let them fetch their favourite toy for every progress. It is all about understanding them and what they love.
Lastly, training with toys is just as effective as training with treats. It requires a lot of love patience and dedication from your side too. When both you and your fur child become a team you can teach them anything. All the best!