When training for agility it is important to consider training reinforcements. Many people new to the sport think only that food is a reinforcement, but toys can and should be used for training too.
When picking out a toy, you want to make sure it is a toy that can be used for tugging and has the weight needed to be tossed accurately.
Elements of a toy I look for:
- Long. I like a toy with some length to it so that I can tug with my dog and not have the dog gripping too close to my hand.
- Made up of different materials. I look for toys with different materials (rubber udders, fabric, rope, real fur, etc.) to provide my dog with interesting textures to tug on.
- Toys my dog likes.
- A variety of toys depending on what I want to do.
- Balls for tossing and retrieving
- Frisbees for tossing, retrieve, and a tug.
- Tugs with some weight to them for foundation skills allowing for tossing and tugging yet long enough that I can race my dog to the toy but not get bit because we are both grabbing for the toy at the same time.
- Food delivery toys (for dogs that are too distracted to tug at class or never learned how to tug). My favorite is the rip and tug Lotus toy. It is available at many different online stores.
Some resources for your toy purchasing pleasure: