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· The Italian One
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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 :tongue:). 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 :doggieplayball:
 

· The Italian One
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3,392 Posts
There is nothing wrong with using toys to train dogs. It is a bit harder to do but I know a lot of people who use toys (a ball or a tug) to train, myself included. Every dog is different. Not ALL training has to be done using food/treats.

This member did not ask how to train their dog using food/treats. They asked;

i want to teach my dog things like drop it and leave it but he really doesnt care about treats at all, never known a dog like him just isnt bothered by food
his favourite toy is a ball on string, but im not sure how to incorporate that into his training

do i give it to him or throw it for him, how long does he get it for? these sort of things i cant find out about
So maybe (if you know) we can offer advice on how to help this member train a "drop it" or "leave it" command using the dog's favorite toy. A ball on a string.
 

· The Italian One
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3,392 Posts
PS. I actually prefer training with toys now that I have used this method with Dalton. In my experience, some dogs are motivated by play far better than by food PLUS play holds their interest much longer. Of course, some dogs are motivated far better by food. But as I keep saying - all dogs are different.
 

· The Italian One
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3,392 Posts
Both the videos I showed also have the handlers using toys. And if anyone would rather continue to only use a toy, WHEN and HOW you use it as a reward for a training behavior is exactly the same.

Only the training/learning is going to take vastly more time because playing with a toy, no matter what toy, if it's really going to be a clear reward, is going to take up more more of your training 'time' than the training.
Thanks MRL. I didn't bother to watch the full videos. First one is mostly treats/food up to the first 3 minutes and second starts out the same - mostly all treats so I didn't bother to finish watching that one either because it just seemed like more on treats/food rewards.

It may take more time training with a toy but for *some* (not all) dogs it works better. Believe it not, some dogs just do not respond for treats like others do and sometimes for those dogs training using food/treats takes much longer than just pulling out a toy. But that's just my opinion. ;)

I'm not sure 'what' you want to teach using a toy as a reward, can you be more specific on things you want to teach??
He has just turned a year, he has some of the basics but I want to put him to work now properly
Diane, good question. The "leave it" and "drop it" were mentioned in the first post but later the OP mentioned "work now properly". Can we ask what that means to you, rosswaa? Then maybe we can give you some more/better direction.
 

· The Italian One
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3,392 Posts
Very often food issues are fairly easy to change and certainly worth while from both a training and a care standpoint. Which is why I posted the article on teaching your dog to eat. It is much easier to develop better food drive in a dog than better play drive because all dogs need to eat.
Maybe the OP's dog has a food issue, I'm not sure as he/she hasn't been back to respond. Speaking for myself, there is no food issue for my dog. My dog doesn't have any problem eating his meals. I don't need to teach him how to eat he already knows. ;) I guess I just have a different opinion than you on this topic - is that ok? :) There's room for both opinions, isn't there? I know many people who use toys (tugs and balls) in training (in fact I'm not the only one in this thread). It's not harmful in anyway. In fact it's called "motivational" (not compulsion or forced training) as I said earlier. I currently have 3 dogs. 2 have been trained using food/treats. 1 is trained using toys. For that one dog, treats/food didn't cut it but toys did. Not all dogs are alike just like not all people are alike. :eek: Some dogs learn differently just as some people learn differently.
 
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