I would say use the ball the same was as you would a treat. You'll have to go a little longer in between trys probably, but it works the same. Does it well--reward with a tug session, get the toy from him (you can use two of the same toy for this so he'll give it up), and do it over.
Yes, this is exactly it.
All dogs are different. Some dogs just don’t respond to food. I have one of those in my house.
Basically what you are going to do is use the toy to motivate your dog. You’ll want to use what they call “motivational” training, not “reward” training. In your case, the ball is a toy you know your dog likes so I would use that.
I assume your dog plays catch.
Start with playing catch. Holding the ball in one hand, don’t hide it from the dog. Let him/her know you have it. Ask him to sit. He sits, you’ll throw the ball. When he brings the ball back, make him drop/release the ball so you can throw again. I make Dalton put the ball in my open hand (just hate the dog slobber mixed with dirt
). You don’t have to make him sit each time before throwing the ball. At first, I only throw the ball a few times. Maybe 3-4 times. When the dog listens to me, I throw the ball. When he doesn’t, I just stand there and wait. In the beginning I try to keep it short sessions.
Praising him when he plays a good game is also important. If he sits nice and drops the ball when asked – praise. When he gets these 2 steps and starts sitting faster and dropping the ball faster you can add in additional steps. Like down, stay, come, heel, etc. Start the play sessions somewhat short and build up to longer sessions. When he listens he gets to play