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I'm trying to train my dog to recognize toys by name, but he's not really getting it.

I first taught him the name of one toy, and he learned to pick it up whenever I said its name.

Then I taught him the name of a second toy, and he also learned to pick it up whenever I said its name.

However, when I put the two toys together, he can't figure out which one to pick up when I say a name. He just gets confused.

Any pointers? I'm using a clicker, btw.
 

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How close are the two toys together when you try to get him to discriminate?
 

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I incorporated searching games for different items such as toys. Each item had a different name associated with it from day one. I'd get the dog amped up before the play session while using the name of the object repeatedly and then engage in a session with the particular item. Once the dog is actively engaging me for a bit, I would place the dog out of sight and make a scent trail with the particular item and hide it, then come back to the dog and give the " get your _____" release. I somewhat believe, making the dog search for a particular item reinforces the association of the particular name to the object. Once the dog is successfully tracking and finding the named objects per my command, I would leave 2-4 items in the same place as the targeted named object and the dog would have to make a decision as to what object to return to me. At this point, I would observe the dog from a distance and the moment the dog scented or grabbed the correct object, I used my positive verbal marker in a heightened fashion, along with the name of the item while giving the dog praise. The problem at times is a dog might have a "favorite" toy perhaps due to the form of interaction connected to it and therefore choose that one when given a choice, so that is why I have I have somewhat made them all equal in a sense by using the tracking exercises.

FWIW, if you don't already while using your clicker, when your dog makes the proper choice and you click, I would also use your voice and enthusiasm to accentuate the success of the very moment a proper choice was made by your dog. Clicks are good but your verbal positive offerings will really cement the idea when used appropriately.
 

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I like the suggestions DriveDog made.

I also have a suggestion on my own. (There are plenty of ways to train any one thing, and something having options is nice!)

The dog can get the named toy if there is just one toy. So how about you start with the toy you want her to get right next to her, and the other toy meters away? Then gradually decrease the distance. Basically, you are setting the dog up for the right choice. If this goes well, with both toys sometimes being the far away uncalled toy and the nearby toy, decrease the distance of the far away toy until they are both right near the dog. :)
 

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I incorporated searching games for different items such as toys. Each item had a different name associated with it from day one. I'd get the dog amped up before the play session while using the name of the object repeatedly and then engage in a session with the particular item. Once the dog is actively engaging me for a bit, I would place the dog out of sight and make a scent trail with the particular item and hide it, then come back to the dog and give the " get your _____" release. I somewhat believe, making the dog search for a particular item reinforces the association of the particular name to the object. Once the dog is successfully tracking and finding the named objects per my command, I would leave 2-4 items in the same place as the targeted named object and the dog would have to make a decision as to what object to return to me. At this point, I would observe the dog from a distance and the moment the dog scented or grabbed the correct object, I used my positive verbal marker in a heightened fashion, along with the name of the item while giving the dog praise. The problem at times is a dog might have a "favorite" toy perhaps due to the form of interaction connected to it and therefore choose that one when given a choice, so that is why I have I have somewhat made them all equal in a sense by using the tracking exercises.

FWIW, if you don't already while using your clicker, when your dog makes the proper choice and you click, I would also use your voice and enthusiasm to accentuate the success of the very moment a proper choice was made by your dog. Clicks are good but your verbal positive offerings will really cement the idea when used appropriately.
I really like this idea!! Thank you for sharing this! Right now my pup is really good at finding her squirrel toy. That's how I feed her meals sometimes (by hiding it around the apartment and she'll go find it and return it to me before she gets some food).

She would always default to getting her ball if I just placed them near each other on the floor. I'm going to try and hide both her ball and squirrel next to each other the next time we play.

Thanks again!
 
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