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Dog Training With A Disability: Lisa’s Top Toy Picks

From not being able to play games like hide and seek to having to stick to main paths for walks when it’s wet, there are a range of challenges that dog owners with disabilities face.

Thanks to our awesome customer Lisa, who uses our dog training toys to train her adorable cocker spaniels Tyler, 5, and Maya, one, from her mobility scooter, we were able to shine a light on these - along with ways to overcome them - in our blog last week.

For Lisa, Tug-E-Nuff toys have been a game-changer in the way she trains her dogs, allowing her to play without pain and achieve amazing success.

And now Lisa is sharing her top picks of toys for dog training with a disability…

  1. Rabbit Skin Tug

Why Lisa loves it: This is fantastic. It’s pocket-sized and has a small handle great for high value reward or just for fun.  Maya massively values the real fur/sheepskin tugs, I use this tug as a high value reward when DMT-ing Maya in areas that Maya will find highly stressful or when it isn’t safe for me to give food reward (I just invest Maya’s daily food allowance in to DMT - Distract, Mark, Treat) as I need to concentrate on manoeuvring my scooter. Maya absolutely loves to carry this tug, if your dog likes to carry items they will love this. We also use it in play scenarios. She loves to retrieve it, find it and play a short game of tug with it.

  1.  Rabbit Skin Bungee Tug

Why Lisa loves it: Another of Maya’s favourites! Although it would fit in your pocket I don’t usually take this one out with me on walks as we have charged it with higher arousal games.  This one I use for training mainly impulse control games, chase games, retrieve games. She loves to tug this one as it has a squeaker and the bungee means it’s gentle on my joints and has a great easy to grip handle.  

3. The Clam

Why Lisa loves it: I absolutely love the versatility of this toy. It can be used for high and low arousal games, great for food motivated dogs as you can put treats inside the Clam that the dogs can get out.  Both Tyler and Maya love the Clam. They love to play ‘find it’ games with it. With Maya, I have started to put it in slightly more difficult places to help with her confidence and optimism and also to help her work through frustration.

You can use it as a ball to retrieve and to offer food reward at a distance. I’ve also started to use it as a low arousal reward for Maya when the door knocks as she finds anything where she associates strangers/strange voices incredibly stressful. The Clam is light and a great size to hold - bigger than a tennis ball but still pocket size so you would have no problem taking it out with you.

4. Faux Fur Bungee Tug

Why Lisa loves it: This is Tyler’s new favourite. Maya will play with it, but she values the real fur/sheepskin tugs more.  Again, it’s pocket-sized so I take this tug out with me every day. The easy grip handle and bungee makes it easier on my joints. Tyler loves this. It brings him in close to me so would be great to use in recall training as a fun reward. It has a good size bite surface for tug games. Tyler loves to retrieve it and as it has a long handle. It is easy for me to swing and throw it. It won’t go huge distances because it’s lighter than say the Sheepskin Bungee Chaser With Tennis Ball, but they have great fun with it.   

5. Sheepskin Bungee Chaser with Tennis Ball

Why Lisa loves it: My first purchase with Tyler and the one that made me cool again in Tyler’s eyes, transforming his recall. Now it’s a firm favourite with both dogs. This tug is more bulky so not pocket size, it has a large bite area, longer bungee handle so you can play chase games with it, easy to throw and will go further due to the weight of the ball. Tyler loves it as recall reward and with Maya I use it for chase and impulse control games.

6. Sheepskin Bungee Ring

Why Lisa loves it: They both love this one! Again, you could fit it in your pocket but I mainly use this one for training at home. It’s great for arousal up, arousal down games, getting them to tug it, bringing them in close and then asking them to break from it.  This has a large bite area, the ring is easy to hold and its bungee so doesn’t hurt your joints too much.

And, finally, what’s Lisa’s advice for disabled dog owners looking to get amazing training results?

‘I’d always recommend getting your dogs interested in toys at home in the garden and then super-charging them before taking them out with you, always pairing it with a positive if you have a nervous dog like Maya. Don’t fear sheepskin or fur tugs - your dog already has the innate instinct to hunt and chase. It just means it will super-charge the value for that toy and can actually help to train behaviours and thinking in high arousal to stop them chasing little furry creatures.  Most importantly be present on walks with your dog, play games and have fun!’

To keep up with Lisa, Tyler and Maya’s training journey, follow them on Instagram @tyler_and_maya_tales. You can also follow us too @tugenuff.

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