There are motivational toys for dogs that are sight, smell, bite,
sound motivated. All dogs are stimulated by
their senses and that will help you excite your dog to work and play with you.
Click below to learn more about sight, smell, bite, and sound stimulation toys.
SIGHT Stimulation Toys
Why sight stimulation?
Sight stimulation toys are obviously designed to visually
excite dogs! Sure, but why would want to do that? And how does it get your dog
to do what you want? First, it helps to realize that dogs, like many animals,
must orient themselves to rapid movement. They don’t decide to pay attention to
movement, it happens automatically. Spotting mice under the grass or noticing an
enemy lurking in the distance has always been a critical survival skill for
wolves, and our dogs carry those same genes and brain connections. Movement
naturally stimulates dog brains, and dogs naturally orient to the location of
Sight stimulation toys are for which dogs?
Sight stimulation dog toys appeal to all dogs, but selective
breeding by humans has increased the intensity of this interest. Herding breeds
like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are especially keyed to movement.
They were bred to control other animal’s movements, so they can be a little more
hyped about movement toys. However, almost all dogs like visual stimulation toys
because it arouses their brains and their primal instincts to chase and catch.
Now that I have their attention! How do I
use sight stimulation toys?
You can take advantage of this instinctual orientation to
movement to start games and training exercises. Shake or wiggle your toy to
pique your dog’s interest then start the play games.
Tug games are a natural play behavior for dogs, so using visual stimulation toys
that you can tug with are an excellent way to excite your dog into a game of tug
o’ war. The more fun the toy is, greater your dog's interest will be in that
toy, and the more willing the dog should be to work for the opportunity to play
with it. Begin your training exercises once your dog is interested in the toy
and use a quick game of tug as the reward for performance.
Why not just put one attractor into each toy?
Visual stimulating a dog to play is great, but if you can
further interest your dog by presenting him with a tug toy that is also very
pleasurable to bite and hold, you have raised the bar and your dog's interest in
the toy. Higher interest leads to higher play drive and a higher willingness to
work for the dog toy. If you want your dog to work, then pay him well. Pay him
with praise and an exciting game of tug with a really cool tug toy!
How do I play with a sight stimulation toy?
Shake ‘em, snake ‘em, toss ‘em, throw them in the air! Bounce
them, wiggle them, hold them still then twitch ‘em. Try to make them look alive
or shake them like crazy. Act like they’re about to jump out of your arms and
get away! Drag them on the ground or toss them towards the dog and snatch them
back. There are as many ways to play with sight stimulation toy as there are
toys and dogs. Each toy offers a little something different in regard to
movement. Try different movements and try shaking the toy at different heights
from the ground until you find your dog’s sweet spot.
SMELL Stimulation Toys
Why smell stimulation?
Dogs love to follow their noses! Dogs are extraordinary among
mammals when we consider their abilities in both reception and discrimination of
odorants. And, while humans possess about five million scent receptors, our
large breeds evidence over 200 million ─ more than
half of the canine nose committed to olfaction.
Top smells include wild animal smells like squirrels and raccoons, different and
unusual smells, and of course food scents. Anything that excites a dog’s nose
can be used to train and stimulate dogs to run fast and perform his best.
Smell stimulation toys are for which dogs?
Dogs love to smell two kinds of things more than any other,
food and critters. So, tug toys that use both food items or real animal furs are
going to excite your dog to his best performance.
How do I use smell stimulation toys to my advantage?
Use these toys the same way you would any other tug toy, the smell adds an extra
level of excitement and stimulates your dog. Just being near a smell stimulation
toy may get your dog excited.
Don’t some of these scent toys incorporate more than smell stimulation?
Yes! That’s because the more exciting our dog toys are the
better they can motivate your dogs to perform. The more stimulators there are in
a toy, the harder your dog will work to gain access to play time with it. The
best toys out there stimulate more than one sense and some stimulate three
senses at once.
BITE Stimulation Toys
Why bite stimulation?
Bite stimulation is so universal that it’s special for us
too. How much chewing gum do you suppose Americans consume each year? We don’t
need special insight to appreciate that biting down on toys is really cool for
dogs. Most dog toys are chew toys or bones of some sort, because all dogs are
bite stimulated. Giving your dog a toy designed specifically to be safe and
appeal to his desire to bite and grip will stimulate him to perform his best for
the opportunity to play with that toy.
do I use bite stimulation toys to my advantage?
An excited game of tug can get pretty physical with these
toys because the dogs enjoy the tugging so much. It’s the biting and the tugging
that they enjoy, so the game is all about hanging on and pulling as hard as you
can. Trainers use the tugging game to reward the behaviors they want, to
gain their dogs attention, and to get their dogs to come to them at top speed.
They reward the desired behaviors with a short game of tug.
Why not just put one attractor into each toy?
For toys to be highly attractive, it is beneficial to put
more than one type of stimulator or attractor in each toy. Toys can have a
tassel for visual excitement, sheepskin stuffing for scent (smell) excitement,
AND be stuffed to just the right firmness to appeal to most dogs' bite pressure.
If one attractor is good, then three is great! The more attractive a tug toy is
the harder the dog learns to work to gain access to his dog toy and earn the
privilege of playing with you.
How do I play with a bite stimulation toy?
Reward your dog with a good game of tug. Just by gripping the
toy with his teeth he’ll enjoy the pleasant sensation of the toy flexing between
his jaws. It happens automatically! You don’t have to do anything extra, just
hang onto the toy and watch your dog get happy.
SOUND Stimulation Toys
Why sound stimulation?
Dog’s brains are hard-wired to orient to certain types of
sounds. That’s why high-pitched and intermittent sounds are especially good at
grabbing your dog’s attention. These brain connections help wild canines, like
wolves, find distant or small prey by noticing sounds in their environment.
Our dogs retain these same brain connections. Noisemakers in dog toys grab our
dog’s mental ‘attention’ centers, and we can benefit from that genetic gift.
It’s a part of their natural responses to their world. Their brains guarantee us
that they will notice a noisy toy.
How do I use sound stimulation toys to
The Bottle Rapper Tug toy is a great sound stimulation toy for tugging and
interactive play. A sound stimulated dog will love the crunchy noise made by the
plastic bottle inside the ‘Rapper’.
Use the Bottle Rapper the same way you would any tug and interactive dog toy to
stimulate play and reward behavior. You may need to compress the bottle inside
the toy for the dog to understand the toy is inside the wrapper. Once he knows
the bottle is inside the toy, the two nylon handles will allow you to retain
possession and control of the toy.
When your water bottle wears out, just put a new bottle into the toy and you’re
ready to continue your training!
Sound stimulation toys are for which dogs?
Some fearful dogs that are afraid of noises, don’t like noisy
toys, but most dogs do. If your dog is sound stimulated, you’ve probably already
noticed that he likes squeakers and clickers. Many dogs seem to enjoy their
ability to make the sounds themselves by biting down on the toy.