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Friday, June 21, 2013

Dog Toy Name Games Get Tougher

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
When's Our Next Fetch Game?

Last week I talked about how Tanner and I have enjoyed the game of naming his dog toys. This is particularly fun with his Fetch toys, the ones he places the highest value on. Today I'll share a couple of our more advanced versions of multi-toy Fetch.

Soon to be 7, he is showing no signs of reducing his social life, and still enjoys his favorite forms of exercise. We're officially sticking by our statement that he's not yet a senior :)

Here's one of Tanner's favorite games that you can play inside, outside, or in the water. Collect 5 or 6 of your dog's favorite toys to Fetch. It's important that he sees them as toys that are part of this game, so he'll understand that he's supposed to bring them back to you. 

With your dog in a "Stay", but watching what you do, spread the toys out in a number of locations, all in his view. Now I'll give you a couple of different versions to choose from:

  • If your pooch knows any of his toys' names, ask him to retrieve them by name, waiting for the requested toy to return before throwing any of the others that he returns in the process. Avoid giving him praise for returning the wrong toys, and encourage him to collect the one you specifically requested. That's the goal! Sometimes this takes a while to sink in. Tanner had to understand that I was only going to toss again after he returned the toy I requested. Tough concept, but once he got it, it was super easy and fun to watch.
  • If your dog doesn't know toy names, try this version: Give the Fetch command and wait to toss the toys a 2nd time until after ALL of the toys have been returned to you. This is a completely different skill that is very tough because their ADD gets in the way. As your dog heads out to pick up a toy, he'll see another one in his peripheral vision, dropping the first and heading after the 2nd. These momentary lapses of keeping the eye on the goal will keep him from learning this game for quite a while. It's a great challenge, and after he successfully completes the return and  you toss the toys again, he'll begin to understand the goal. Be patient and give lots of praise for his efforts. While you watch your dog learning, you'll also be learning a good deal about his ability to focus and what his distractions are. Enjoy this!
Let me know how your dog does with these games. I'd love to learn from you. Do you have any creative versions of Fetch that you can share? The comment link is open. See you again next week for another version of the Weekly Wag, when I share tips and strategies for bonding with your dog.

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Dawn said...

Great job, Tanner! I haven't done too much with Pierson on this game since your last post. We still only have a couple toys memorized by name.

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