I shared this photo of Luke on Monday, showing him with his new “friend” who is the Tiger toy from Major Dog. In the past, we’ve done most of our training with clickers and food treats (and always praise), but food is not the only reward that works, even with Luke who is very food motivated.
In fact, food wasn’t helping so much when it came to trying to train him to use his crate again. The clicker and food got him started with getting closer to the crate, but we just weren’t making much progress with getting him inside.
I had gotten in the habit of putting toys in there with the hopes that he’d go in after them, but the only time he did was when Sheba went to try and get a toy; and he went right in alongside her! I came to realize that since his reluctance is motivated by fear, he really was better about going in the crate when he wasn’t really thinking about it too much.
So when we got this new Major Dog Tiger toy to review, I decided that might be a good way to help him. He was quite excited about this new toy, and as I put it in the crate, he would reach in to take it, and then his reward would be a little bit of play with it. Then I would take it back and put it just a little further back each time, until we got it all the way in the back as seen below. We do this most evenings, just as part of his play time, or at other times when he wants to play with toys.
Helping Luke with his training isn’t the only thing I love about this toy. Not only is it tough, and will hopefully hold up better to our destructive chewers Luke and Sheba, but it does not have any squeakers in it. I had been on the hunt for a squeaker-less stuffed toy for what seemed like forever. Since both dogs are so destructive, and tend to eat things they shouldn’t, I always had the worry that one of them would consume a squeaker. That has led to emergency surgery for some dogs since a squeaker can lodge in and block their intestines.
Not only those things, but Major Dog’s toys are made in Sonneberg, Germany, the toy capital of Europe. All of their dog toys are developed through efforts of dog trainers and owners. They are tested and TÜV certified for safety. That means they go through the same contaminant testing as child toys. They do not contain cadmium, phthalates, PAH, tinorganic compounds, or azocolorants. I don’t know what all those things are, but they sure don’t sound good!
We don’t leave our destructo-dogs alone with new toys, but it’s good to know that if they did ingest a small portion of something I can feel safe that it’s not toxic. So far Tiger is holding up to them, even Sheba who seeks out the first vulnerability she can find in a toy, which in Tiger’s case would be his ears and tail! We’ll keep you posted on how Tiger holds up in the long run.
Because our yard has turned into an icy mess, we haven’t been able to take Tiger outside yet. He has that fun tail for playing tug and for easy throwing. I hope that once we can get him outside, he can help with training Luke to retrieve as well! Luke loves to chase things, but he doesn’t always want to bring them back, so that is something we are always working on as well.
Now, I have to be totally honest and say that we use other toys when training for the crate too. I find that mixing up and rotating toys is just as important as mixing up treats when it comes to training, in order to keep Luke’s interest. But so far I’ve only found 2 or 3 others besides the Tiger that Luke is willing to go all the way to the back of the crate for!
Luke and I are also still working on a couple of fun tricks that I hope to be able to share with you for next month’s hop. I will also hope to share that he has gotten all the way in his crate (so far only the front 2 paws have made it – he is very good at stretching), and if that happens we will have to give his new friend just a little bit of the credit for at least helping us along the way!
Disclaimer: We received a Major Dog Tiger toy at no cost in exchange for our fair and honest review, but were in no other way compensated. Wag ‘n Woof Pets only shares products we feel will be of interest to our readers, and all opinions are our own.
We are joining the Positive Pet Reinforcement hop this week. It begins on the first Monday of every month and runs all week long. The hop is hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Tenacious Little Terrier, and Rubicon Days. Please visit them as well as other blogs through the links below for more positive pet training tips.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Way to go Luke, your doing great and what a great toy to learn with.
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Loving the look and sounds of this toy!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
Hooray for new, helpful friends! I’m glad Luke is making such good progress and that you’re able to make it fun by incorporating the training into his playtime. Bar loves her toys, but not as a reward. Some of our classmates toss toys as a reward on the agility course, but if I do that, Barley sits in front of me and waits for a snack and just leaves the toy. 🙂
Luke is pretty food motivated, so he actually surprised me when he would accept a toy as a reward!
Huxley would love a toy that he is allowed to chew on! Everytime he settles in to chew on a soft toy *someone* comes along and replaces it with an actual chew. Brychwyn loves toys in his crate… sometimes to many toys. But whatever makes it happy and comfortable! Thanks for joining the hop.
Tenacious Little Terrier says
Yay! Finding good rewards can be hard sometimes. I hope it helps him conquer his crate fear. Thanks for joining the hop!
That looks like a great toy! I love that it’s going against the current convention of “tough” toys to have those big, black, “indestructible” seams that Nala seems to consider a personal challenge!
Good luck with your continued crate training! Nala is terrific at the crouching, stretched out, terrified approach, too, although she typically reserves it for scary rocks!
I agree…it’s fun to have a toy that is tough but still cute as well! Sheba also considers every toy a challenge…she tries to find its weakness immediately…LOL.
I had hoped that Luke would get less fearful as he got older, but even though we work with him, he seems to go the opposite direction. It can be really frustrating.
Lauren Miller says
That’s so awesome that Luke is feeling better about the crate with the help of the Tiger toy! Phoenix absolutely loves her tiger, too! 😀
I’m always on the lookout for toys without squeakers! This may be a good one to try!
Aw, Luke looks so cute playing with his Tiger! We always give both dogs toys, but somehow they all wind up Mia’s.
Two French Bulldogs says
that toy looks like tons of fun
Lily & Edward
What a great strategy to get him going in the crate again. Any toy that is German approved has to be good. They have super high standards! Hope he continues to improve and eventually loves his crate again.
If the Tiger continues to hold up, I definitely want to try some of their other toys as well….I definitely love the quality.
We’ll keep working on the crate, but some days I’m just ready to give up when it feels like we aren’t making any further progress.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
That sounds like the best toy for my destructive maniac – Jaxy….
I’m glad that you have found something that works for Luke!
I wish my dogs were motivated by something other than treats. I have heard of a positive trainer who works with a praise based program and he’s on my schedule for spring training. 🙂
Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait for an update to see how the toy held up.
So far the toy is still hanging in there!
I can’t wait to hear how your dogs do with the new spring training. Once things settle down (which means hopefully getting our house sold and moving), we may be getting a trainer for Luke again. They are just so darn expensive around here, and I really wanted to be able to just work with him myself. But we may have to give in if we can’t make the progress we need to.
M. K. Clinton says
I can’t recall seeing any plus toys without a squeaker. Pierre is our stuffie killer and Bentley LOVES a squeaker toy. We bought him a stuffless rabbit that has 16 squeakers in it. He walks around the house squeaking up a storm. LOL! They both get into their kennels without a problem. Bentley used to have to stay in his when I worked and he would open the door of it with his nose and go in each morning. LOL! I’m sure that Luke will learn to love his own personal space once he feels safe.
Stuffless toys are so much easier to find than squeakerless ones! What frustrates me the most with this crate thing is that both girls, who were never crate trained, have no problem with the crate. But Luke, who used to have one of the same type and loved it as a puppy, wants nothing to do with it!
Oz the Terrier says
That sounds like a great toy! And if Luke is so in love with it, it will surely help with his crate training. Paws crossed!
2 Brown Dawgs says
That looks like a great toy. I am glad you found something to help Luke. I had a similar issue with Freighter. I approached it a bit differently. I am actually planning a post on it probably next week.
I am looking forward to hearing how approach it. I’m not sure this is going to work with Luke…progress seems so slow (of course I am also very impatient), and I wonder if I’m going to have to get a different kind of crate to ever get him to go all the way in. It’s just so funny that Sheba, who is usually more timid of new things, went right in and turned around no problem!