Playing with a Food Stuffable Toy


Improving Dog Play Drive with a Food Stuffable Toy

Despite a toy box full of toys, Mr. N only plays with them for a five or ten-minute spurt each day. His play drive is definitely not high enough for toys to be a reliable reward. He prefers food and the smugness of being right. I’ve been working with him to make toys more appealing. He has a special stuffed squirrel he only gets as a reward and a fur tug to appeal to his terrier instincts.

One of the latest additions to our training tool box is the . It’s a three part ball that is lined with velcro so you can stuff food inside it. Dogs can either rip it apart themselves which appeals to their hunting instincts or they can bring it to you to be opened which is the method that Mr. N prefers.

*If you buy from the Amazon links listed on this blog, it won’t cost you extra but we will get a few pennies that go towards running the blog and Mr. N’s treat allowance!
Mr. N has very little interest in balls but once he saw that the ball had food in it, he was much more willing to go chase after it and bring it back to be opened. He will retrieve but usually he finds it boring after a half-dozen throws.
You can use the ball for distance training and treat the dog from a distance which is handy for things like agility training and teaching contacts. Right now, I’m mostly just using it to teach Mr. N that toys have value. Tasty value.


The Lotus Ball is an interactive toy which means it should only be played with under supervision. I don’t think it would hold up to a lot of aggressive chewing.

All toys mentioned were purchased by myself.

Mr. N is busy trying to figure out how to earn more food. Is your dog into toys? Would your dog like playing with a food stuffable toy?

Welcome to First Monday’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Cascadian NomadsTenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below.  Our theme for this month is play and trying out new training games.. but any positive reinforcement training posts or comments are also always welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long. Our next hop will begin Monday, June 6th and continues for a week. The theme for June is reporting back on trying out new training games.




26 Responses

    • Tenacious Little Terrier

      May 2, 2016 10:14 pm

      Haha. He is very pleased with himself when he is right and "good." When one of his dog friends would misbehave and have to go back on leash, I swear he prances around her and flaunts the fact that he was good so he is still off-leash!

  1. Beth

    May 2, 2016 3:17 pm

    Barley likes to play with toys sometimes, but she agrees with Mr. N about them not being acceptable forms of rewards–she'd much rather have food without the toy. We also try to avoid them our agility class because they get her too amped up, so if she happened to see one of her classmates while chasing a toy, she'd be more likely to go pounce on her classmate instead. I keep trying to tell her that if she'd play with a toy as a reward she'd get more dinner since she'd have fewer treats throughout training sessions, but so far it seems like she'd rather have less dinner 😉

  2. Lauren Miller

    May 2, 2016 8:57 pm

    Great post! N is so cute! 😀 That looks like an awesome toy! When I first got Zoe, she didn't really care for toys either and I've had to shape her into liking them over the years. Now it's still sort of iffy if she'll bring it back or not but when she's in the zone to play, she's in the zone. It's been a fun learning experience for both of us. Phoenix has always liked toys but she liked to play with them by herself. She's learned that playing with us is fun, too!

  3. cupcakepetrillo

    May 2, 2016 9:22 pm

    Lotus Ball is a great idea. I like all my stuffed animals, but a toy with a treat inside will be my instant favorite! I hope Mom gets me one.

    Love and licks,

  4. Groovy Goldendoodles

    May 2, 2016 9:25 pm

    First time I've seen one of those. It might be a special game I can play with Harley. He's not always willing to bring something back. Perhaps if he knows I can open the magic hatch for treats – he just might change his mind.

  5. Lara Elizabeth

    May 2, 2016 10:54 pm

    Our flying disc that I posted about is the Holy Grail of toys for Ruby and she also has a crazy drive for fleece tugs (although she tends to prefer the nylon handle end that is supposed to mine). Ruby will often not take treats in the height of play with these toys, which tells me that toys are our most valuable motivator! The Lotus Ball is a cool idea that combines the two – looks like it's working great for Mr. N's retrieve!

  6. Janet Keefe

    May 4, 2016 10:17 pm

    That looks like a great toy for play and training. I think Luke would enjoy it. But one sister would want to destroy it and his other sister would fight over it, most likely! I have to keep them separated if I want to use any kind of treat toy, so it's not usually convenient for us. 🙁
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  7. Chasing Dog Tales

    May 5, 2016 1:52 am

    Haha, "the smugness of being right" cracked me up! I haven't seen the Lotus Ball before, but Haley would love the velcro part since she loves the sound of ripping things, lol! I'll have to order one of these.

  8. JoeHx

    February 16, 2018 2:36 pm

    “He prefers…the smugness of being right.” I don’t know why, but I find it so adorable when dogs have personality quirks like that. It’s just so cute!

  9. Jana Rade

    February 17, 2018 12:13 pm

    Cookie likes her toys but for her they are not a sufficient reward either; more of a bonus. What she loves the most is critter tacking and hunting. I don’t know if there is a way we could change that.


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