FE130: Toys - Developing Cooperation and Play

Instructor: Shade Whitesel

Course Details

Do you have a dog that chases the ball, yet won’t bring it back? Plays keep away with toys? Tugs but won’t let go? Bites you instead of the tug? Obsesses over toys, yet won’t listen to a single thing you say? Is your dog so high in drive for toys that he can’t think? Or do you just want to channel that prey drive right from the beginning and add the attitude your dog has for tugging or chasing toys to the obedience ring?

If so, this class is for you! Join Shade Whitesel as we explore how to play games that channel that prey drive. Playing with toys with OUR rules creates a dog that plays with us instead of against us!

This class is most appropriate for dogs that are attracted to toys but need fine tuning in how to play with them. We include ways to build drive for toys but generally dogs with little or no interest in chasing and biting toys will have limited success in this class. The tug part of this class can be quite physical on the handler, so wear gloves and expect to gain some bicep muscles!

Here a video showing a little of what we work on:


Registration will begin at 10:00am PST.

Next session starts: June 1, 2017
Registration starts: May 22, 2017
Registration ends: June 15, 2017

Enrollment limits: 10 gold, 15 silver, unlimited bronze. If you are interested in a bronze level class, you can sign up any time during the registration period.


2 ball game step 1: luring

2 ball game step 2: un lured, dog's choice

2 ball game step 3: adding behaviors

1 ball game

tug step 1: drive building

tug step 2: presentation, more details

tug step 3: out

tug step 4: moving out

toys in outside environments

using toys for competition behaviors

using toys for reactivity


Prerequisites and Equipment

toys, balls and variety of tugs, treats. Depending on your dog's preferences, you may start with soft fuzzy type toys to build drive and then end up with really hard type toys to encourage dropping and letting go. Flirt poles and toys on ropes can also be great in the beginning stages.

Course Testimonials


This course has been the key to improving so much about my relationship with my dog! Over the past few months, I finally started suspecting that my dog's so called "possession issues" could be a result of how I played with her. The six-week course format gave us time to develop our play skills all the while getting Shade's regular feedback and advice as we worked through the course information. I love how each of us worked at our own pace, and how Shade directed us to focus on the most important aspects according to our individual needs. So, apart from us now having a good play foundation that we can build on, Shade's comments and advice helped me to better read and respond to my dog's body language during play, and allowed me to develop a clear play framework so she could feel comfortable and have fun with me. I also learned so much from my fellow students as they worked through their own challenges. I now see that how we play is absolutely key to meeting my training goals and having the best possible relationship with my dog. I'm well on my way to both, and Dama and I cannot thank you enough Shade! I look forward to more courses. Diane L & Dama

Prior to the course, my highly possessive German Shepherd wouldn't out or outed very slowly with dirty biting. By the end of the course, I no longer even thought about outing; Bosco's outs are consistently clean and fast on command. I highly recommend Shade Whitesel's toy class if you are interested in learning to develop conflict free toy interaction skills with your dog. Martin T.

I thoroughly enjoyed this class! I had a very focused young dog, i.e. all the toys are MINE, but now I have a dog that will work for me to get the toys, will switch from toy to toy, and is much less likely to bowl me over in search of toys. The feeling of being in sync with your dog is priceless and this class helped us tremendously tThis was an amazing class that was fun and relationship building in one package. I highly recommend it! Ginger Mo reach a place of understanding and cooperation. Love it! Nell Wirtes

Yes! I am thrilled at the progress of my young girl!!! We are working together instead of her seeking her own rewards with the toys.

Shade gave incredibly fast feedback on my videos. More importantly, her feedback was always quantifiable and actionable so that I could apply it.

At first I wasn't sure as I'd never heard of Shade, but I'm SO HAPPY that I took this class! It's already fixed all the problems I was having in playing with my Dutch Shepherd. He's now a tugging fool and no longer running off with the toy!

I loved this class. Our play style improved and I felt our progress with using toys while working

This was an amazing class that was fun and relationship building in one package. I highly recommend it! Ginger M