• Working Paws

Pack Your Toys

Who packs up the toys at your house? We teach our children from a very young age to put their toys away at the end of each day, have you done the same with your dog?

The hour of complete toy madness seems to be post dinner at our house. Zoomies, tug rope and squeakers get the final slobby chomp as they are tossed around the play area. Come pack up time, it's still a game with mum, but it's find the right toy by name and put it in the toy box.

This is an excellent game for working dogs as it makes them use their brain, using verbal word association and visual recognition. When you have a worker, its their brain that needs wearing out most of all.

From day 1 of having your dog start teaching them the name for each of their five favourite toys. You play fetch with that toy, tussle and tug and lastly placing it out in the open for them to bring to you. You do one toy each day and play with only that toy constantly calling it by name. The most important aspect of this is each night you get them to put the toy they now recognize by name away in the toy box and reward with verbal praise and physical scratches / belly rubs etc. After five days you repeat for another five days of play but mix in two toys together and continue this until you get to a point of them bringing you each of the five toys by name.

Just a few minutes at a time so it's always an exciting game, use the exact same word for each individual toy and just use the queue word like fetch and then either pig/chook/shark etc. When you are moving to multiple toys, still request one at a time.

The next stage is hiding them in the open in different rooms of the house and getting your dog to fetch. This will mentally exhaust your dog as they have to really put all of their past learned actions to work at once. If you have a clever dog you can expand on the five toys.

This is an exercise that the kids could drive during the school holidays but do set out a plan so everyone is focusing on the same toy or toys and using exactly the same words. After several weeks your dog will be able to put the toys away by name at night into the toy box, find a toy by name in the house or even backyard and will have built a fantastic bond with every house member who participated. This will show as an enormous benefit and will playout further when you are wanting to train for other games or just do general training.


Honestly, how would you really feel....

It's Saturday morning, mum and dad pack you and your favourite toy in the car and you stop at a place where there are loads of dogs barking, but it's not normal barking. You are a bit worried but a nice lady comes and talks to mum and gives you a pat and then you are walking down a corridor with her and she puts you into a wire box. Then, she's gone, mum and dads gone, dogs are barking all the time, some are crying, it's cold, I'm all alone, where's my mum.......

Abandonment is very stressful, confusing, challenging, scary and heartbreaking, all at once.


When bringing home a rescue dog or puppy, carefully plan to make sure you avoid scary and stressful experiences early on in their arrival (especially the first few weeks).

You are welcoming a dog who has lost the only family they have known, has been through huge life transitions, and is entering a space with strangers.

Making sure their experience feels safe and comfortable is key to helping ease them through this big life change and prevent problem behaviours from popping up.


Things to do and don't

  • Wait to introduce your dog to people outside the family in your house until they have a relationship with you.

  • Carefully perform greetings with existing pets in the home to make sure they don't get overwhelmed.

  • Avoid taking them to busy new places until they are settled in and show they are ready.

  • Don't rush them to interact with you, but instead you could offer them treats and invite them for snuggles without demanding them.

  • Observe their behaviour to try and understand how they might be feeling. This is the way dogs speak to us.

By keeping their first couple of weeks calm, quiet and extra safe, you'll be showing your new doggie family member that they can trust you and relax in their new home.

(Reprinted with permission of Tug Dogs)


Questions Answered right here:


Q Can I give my dog just a corner piece of my Avocado toast?


A No Avo for the Doggo. Avocadoes contain Persin (oil soluble compound) which even

in small amounts will have your dog vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. And, if you

have smashed your own Avocado, make sure to dispose of the seed properly. If your

dog swallows it, there is no doubt that it will get stuck and obstruct your dogs tummy

and intestines. Be very careful with seeds in the garden, plant above puppy height.


Q Can all dogs swim?

No, Bully breeds struggle. Pugs,

French Bulldogs, Bulldogs, Shiatzus,

basically dogs with a flat face, a

brachycephalic jaw, a barrel shaped

body. With British Bulldogs, their

head is so heavy and with a neck like

a rugby player it's quite dangerous so

a chin lift flap is often added to the

front of their life vests.

These breeds generally love playing

in the water and tragedies happen in

a split second, especially puppies, so

if you have a bully breed please

make sure they always have their life vest on around water.


Q Can dogs really see colour?

A Yes they actually can. Behavioral tests

suggest that dogs see in shades of yellow

and blue and lack the ability to see the

range of colors from green to red. In other

words, dogs see the colors of the world as

basically yellow, blue, and grey. Dogs

possess only two types of cones (humans

have three - trichromatic) and can only

discern blue and yellow - this limited color

perception is called dichromatic vision.

Without the third cone they lack the ability to

see reds and the colours that spin off from

red - blue, purple etc.


PAWS UP until next time

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