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I use toys alot when working Masi on new things like I said before, she would MUCH rather have a toy reward than food,,here's a couple of things I did, (take em for what they are worth))

I get a nice fast, focused heel, stuffing her frisbee under my armpit, (beware, I've been 'nailed' a few times by an ambitious "gimme that frisbee dog!")

So you could use your 'ball" make sure your dog 'sees' where you have that ball...heel a bit, throw the toy...(hopefully your dog has a good retrieve and drop?)

You might find out having "two" of their favorite toys, works well in getting them to retrieve/drop it..toss the other..

I have also taught her (with the frisbee),,if I am going to thro it, she has to bring it back, circle me, and drop it at my feet...I have worked a really good solid, down /stay, throw her frisbee, and she can't move until I release her:)) drives her nuts but it's teaching her self control I think:)

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??
 

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Cava, floofy supermodel
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Diane, the OP did mention "drop it" and "leave it" in the first post.
 

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One of my males was similar - could walk past food for a day or so with complete disinterest. We tried different food, mixing it with water, etc. but he ate purely out of necessity. I did what JustMeLeslie describes above - my dog would pant and drool for a blue racquetball. He would chew and chew on it until it popped. Fortunately I played daily at the time so we didn't have any shortage. Five years later, we tore up an old back deck and found dozens of them.

Anyway, the ball was his treat. He responded well, but I prefer treats - not as slimy.
 

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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
To teach Drop It with a toy:

First step - buy a second ball on a string. :) Let him start playing with the first one and then show him the second one. Wait for him to drop the first one THEN throw the second one. While he's going after it pick up Ball #1 and repeat the whole thing.

Once he starts spitting out the ball as soon as you show him the other one add the command. Say Drop it, show him the second ball, say YES! and toss the ball when he drops the first one.

I taught Mauser how to drop things (Aus) by playing tug with him. Once I got him good and revved up I would freeze and wait for him to let go of the toy. I would say Good Aus and then re-engage him with the tug. He quickly learned that the game would stop but only when he dropped the tug would it restart.
 

· The Italian One
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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.
 

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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.
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.
 

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I had a dog that didn't care about food or treats or toys as a youngster. I had to train her using only praise. She turned out to be the best dog ever. (She is dead now, so I do not have to worry about getting home to a big pile of rubble because I said that.)

Then one day she started enjoying toys, and when she was about four, treats became her favorite thing. So don't give up on treats, try to reintroduce them later on.
 

· The Italian One
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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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ahh Debbie, what I get for not going back and 'reading":)

I agree with Vinnie above^^..Masi doesn't have a food issue, the dog is a hog, when it comes to training, tho she will take a food reward,,she is MUCH more pumped up, enthusiastic over a toy than food...If I put food down and a frisbee down, she will go for the frisbee:))

She is the first dog I've had that has been MUCH more toy motivated than food, so it's been a learning curve for me..

The "drop it",,I use two of the same thing, she drops one, she gets the other,,I then transfer that to 'anything' else she picks up, she drops THAT, and gets what she really wants:).

"Leave it",,since she's not so food motivated,,I use food for the 'leave it',,and I admit I torture her with stuff:)),,,I'll put her in a down stay, and put food starting a foot from her, tell her to leave it, give her her toy reward,,then I transfer that to leaving her toy, or other things.

Granted sometimes these can be a work in progress, and they take some time training, but these dogs are sooooooo smart, it's also teaching them some self control:)
 

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I had a dog that didn't care about food or treats or toys as a youngster. I had to train her using only praise. She turned out to be the best dog ever. (She is dead now, so I do not have to worry about getting home to a big pile of rubble because I said that.)

Then one day she started enjoying toys, and when she was about four, treats became her favorite thing. So don't give up on treats, try to reintroduce them later on.
Think that was more what I was trying to hint about. Just because your dog currently doesn't like treats, doesn't necessarily mean they can NEVER be added to your training bag of tricks. Specially because much of the time changing how you use treats or WHAT you are using as treats can show an immediate spark of interest.

I'd have shown the exact same videos for a dog that refused to use a toy cause I think the more training tools we can use, the easier it is for our dogs and ourselves.
 

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My youngest dog was way more into toys than food when she was a baby but I have made sure that both were rewarding for her. IMO using one or the other is a problem because it can be quite limiting depending on what you want to train the dog to do. A friend was brining a very intense dog to my house for agility practice but no toy drive had been developed. The dog wouldn't work for toys but she was food obsessed, so we used small food stuffed Kongs to start to build toy drive. If the dog had only worked for toys, we would have done things to develop food drive. Food drive IME is generally much easier to develop than toy drive in adult dogs.

Here is my youngest at 5 months old working for a toy:

And for treats as a 12 month old:
http://www.youtube.com/user/NPuccini#p/u/5/UjWE4yLtfiI
 
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