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Tips on how to train the "toy names"?


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So I've been working with the task of teaching Lexi to retrieve her toys one by one, by name. We've been at it for a while, but she still doesn't have them down and I'm thinking it's probably due to my inexperience as a trainer. I'm wondering if anyone can share their technique for this?

 

So far, I've been using the same consistent names for all the toys (we are working with about 10 different toys), and I tell her to "go find/go get your ____" and if she picks it up and brings it back, she gets a treat and praise (I usually help her if she's having trouble, i.e., point to the correct toy). The trouble is that once there are treats in the mix, she basically just wants them, and she'll just walk around picking up each toy one by one until she gets the treat... so I don't think my method is working! Any ideas? :rolleyes:

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Ahh.,...I used to have a lovely collection of stuffed animals to work with...then, one night last year and Ladybug found the basket, got the lid off and she and the puppies had a field day with them.....fluff everywhere!!! "Auntie" Karen is going to have to build my collection again...

 

Clicker training might help...if you tell her to get the frog -- click and treat only when she gets the frog. She might be running around in circles because she's not exactly sure of what you want.

 

I can tell Robin to "Go find it", with "it" being the operative word for anything that I want and point in a certain direction and he'll cast about until he gets near what I want and I'll say "That's it!" and he'll bring it to me. If I want to fine tune him for a specific item, I use the clicker to teach him one item at a time and make sure they find some value in getting the item.

 

For example, the gang each has one of those "big mouth" things that you stuff with treats...I call it a "wubbely" just a funny name for it ...it's important to Robin because every night I tell him to go find is wubbely and when he brings it to me, I fill it with treats and he can chew on it to get them. (Ladybug and Brodie get their wubbelies too.) I can tell him to go find his wubbely, and he'll immediately go get it because it's important to him. And it's been stuck under the bed where he can't quite get to it , he'll lie there with his rear end sticking out, tail wagging like a flag for help waiting for me to come to his rescue. :D

 

 

 

So I've been working with the task of teaching Lexi to retrieve her toys one by one, by name. We've been at it for a while, but she still doesn't have them down and I'm thinking it's probably due to my inexperience as a trainer. I'm wondering if anyone can share their technique for this?

 

So far, I've been using the same consistent names for all the toys (we are working with about 10 different toys), and I tell her to "go find/go get your ____" and if she picks it up and brings it back, she gets a treat and praise (I usually help her if she's having trouble, i.e., point to the correct toy). The trouble is that once there are treats in the mix, she basically just wants them, and she'll just walk around picking up each toy one by one until she gets the treat... so I don't think my method is working! Any ideas? :rolleyes:

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Based on what you say, I would back it up a little.

 

I would probably focus on one toy and associate all of the desired cues with it. For example - "Ball", "Get your ball", "Give the ball", "Find the Ball", etc.

 

Once those are solid, I would put the ball aside and do the same with a different toy.

 

Once those cues are solid for two distinct toys, I would work on differentiation between the two. Perhaps hold the other toy in your hand and say, "Get your ball". Then switch - hold the ball and say, "Get your [whatever]". I'd be looking for very solid recognition of the word that goes with each toy.

 

Once the dog could differentiate between two, I would add a third, etc.

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I find that the dog's own preferences complicate things too. Sometimes she wants to play ball, sometimes she wants to tug. Sometimes she really likes the sound of a specific squeaker. I don't feel like being Mussolini about it - it's her playtime, right? So I usually cave and we play with the toy she really wants at the moment. Other times she's happy to bring the toys - one by one - as named. It's an imperfect world, but I'm not teaching her to pull people out of an avalanche... :rolleyes: so why get my knickers in a bunch?

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I find that the dog's own preferences complicate things too. Sometimes she wants to play ball, sometimes she wants to tug.

I've found that with Scooter too. He knows every toy by name, but sometimes will prefer to play with something else. He compromises by touching the one I asked for, then bringing me the one he wants! :rolleyes:

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