Another very simple DIY toy actually requires no DIY-ing. Do you have a peanut butter jar that’s running low? If so, that’s all you need! Make sure to check the ingredient list and never give your dog peanut butter that contains xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is safe for humans but very toxic for dogs. Give your dog the nearly empty jar and she should stay entertained until it’s been licked completely clean. If you really want to give your dog a challenge, you can freeze the jar for a few hours before giving it to her.
So, how do I use these toys to train my dog? It’s simple. The fundamentals of 1 Minute Dog Training are behaviors you are probably familiar with already. They are:
If your dog can reliably sit, stay, and come when called, then all training can be built upon these skills.
When I throw a ball, I use a subtle hand signal or my soft voice to practice stay after my dog retrieves the ball and before she brings it back to me. I count to five or ten then say (in a complete sentence), “Okay, come on, you good girl.” She gleefully bounds back and waits for the next throw.
Other times, I do this session in reverse. I ask her to please sit or lie down next to me and stay while I throw the Frisbee. Then, when it’s high in the air, I say, “Go get it.” She loves the challenge of catching it, which must feel extra rewarding after waiting!
Be sure to incorporate play into your dog’s training routine–you will both enjoy the time you spend together. Better yet, you can work on shaping your dog’s behavior at the same time!