There are many reasons to train your dog with toys, and a Kong classic toy can be one of the best training aids around. Overweight dogs, dogs that are prone to over excitement when the treats come out, and dogs that are not comfortable enough to take treats in certain environments are far from lost causes. You just have to know how to motivate them.
A kong original is great aid to teaching efforts for a wide variety of reasons. Even the dogs with the strongest of bites can not readily destroy this toy. By design these are the toys that are almost impossible to tear apart.
They can hold a yummy morsel to encourage interest without being a source of unwanted calories. Additionally, you can leave them with your best friend unattended provided you have offered them the appropriate size.
These toys are excellent for teaching Fido how to stay home alone without fear or anxiety. Whether in a crate or on a treasure hunt, frozen canned food in the Kong toy can help him associate your absence with pleasure instead of pain. He will be pushing you out the door if this is the only time he receives such a reward. Use different filling material at other times. Be sure that a big dog does not have access to a small Kong as these can end up being a choking hazard.
If you have not been able to get the kind of motivation that you want, try building the value of the toy. Dress it up with yummy goodies, put it away when you are not teaching him, and never yell or act aggressively toward him while the session is going on.
Small helpings of canned food can be very helpful when building value. You can use this as a treat and toy reward and then eventually phase out the treats. If all else fails, place the canned food inside and then allow your dog some play time with it. Once he truly values the experience, you can turn the attention toward training him. With a cue such as sit, the addition of canned food will help him track the toy as you lift it above him, encouraging him to go straight into the correct position.
This will help him go into a sitting position naturally, at which time he gets the reward. This is also when you want to name the behavior. Telling him what a “good sit!” he just did will help him associate the act, the pleasure, and the cue. You must repeat this several times in order to make sure he has the opportunity to really understand what you are asking of him.
For any kind of training, a Kong toy really offers you a lot of versatility as well as durability. It is a fantastic aid for teaching your dog that responding to your cues leads to a good time. This will motivate him to perform for you. Once he understands that this is reward he receives, you can start giving him dual rewards like throwing the toy so he can chase or swim after it.