Dogs can learn the names of different toys, so adding buttons that refer to them is sensible. Such buttons let dogs ask for the kind of play they want to have, which is extremely rewarding and further helps them understand that things can have names. Introducing at least two toys at a time is recommended, as this way your learner can more quickly and easily associate the word to a particular toy, rather than to the category of all toys in general.

Meanings and uses

  • Refers to a particular toy

Potential confusion

Learners may think that TOY refers not to a particular toy, but instead to play with the toy. If a learner is confused about the word category, their ability to sensibly put the word into more extended buttons press strings is limited.

Button sounds

Chaser the dog knew the names of more than 1000 toys (but her knowledge was entirely receptive, rather than expressive, speech), and so the list below isn't meant to be comprehensive.

  • "Ball"

  • "Tug"

  • "Kong"


Modeling techniques

Among our group of successful modelers, the following techniques were used successfully:

  • Pressed button, shown, or gave you. I was careful not to play, so the learner doesn’t confuse “toy" and playing with the toy. Also modeled play + toy. Sometimes I’d point to a toy rather than giving it to her to show that it wasn’t about the action of giving the toy. Pointing to a toy is something I’ve done a lot before.