Games & Play

Toys: Pacification Vs Interactive, Structured Games, Brain Games



There are two types of dog toys; Interactive and Pacification. Toys, like food, space and attention, are considered valuable resources to the dog. It's important to control their accessibility to these items in order to prevent resource guarding as well as help keep your role as leader defined. 

VIDEO - Types of Toys

Review these videos that were posted in the section on Resource Guarding prevention via trade games: LK9 Cody RG1  and  LK9 Cody RG2

  • Interactive Toys
    • Primarily constructed from man-made materials
    • Meant to stimulate play between the person and the dog
    • Examples: tug, fetch
  • Pacification Toys
    • Primarily organic items
    • Meant for quiet times when the dog is tethered or crated
    • Limited engagement from the person
    • Ex: Frozen beef marrow bone (raw, at least 6" long, 1/4" wall), L or XL Kong, Large solid Nylabones
    • The dog should not be able to close it's mouth around the smallest part of the toy for safety reasons

To see a list of many of these products you can view them on Amazon:Puppy List


Structured Games

Interactive games are a great way to teach your dog impulse control, work on obedience, give your dog mental and physical exercise, all while having fun!

A few general rules: toys should be considered interactive, meaning they are used when you interact with your dog. Toys should not be left out. The exceptions to this are safe pacification toys that are meant to keep the dog occupied while having quiet time while properly confined (examples: frozen stuffed Kongs, Nylabones, and raw marrow bones cut to the appropriate size.)

All of the games you play should have rules that are consistent. Avoid games that encourage the puppy to use it's mouth on human skin! Rough housing can often cause confusion and encourage inappropriate behavior. 

We use structured games, like tug and fetch, to practice good manners and to teach the Out command (release what you have).

See Resource Guarding Prevention to understand the value of trading and structured play.

Examples of Structured Games:

Brain Games - Activities that engage the dog in mentally stimulating ways are incredibly beneficial to your dog's development. Additionally, mental stimulation is a great way to tire out an energetic dog. Especially with puppies we have to be careful with regards to the amount and type of physical exercise we allow our dogs to have. Exercising your puppy's brain is a great solution. 

This is a fun book: Brain Games for Puppies

Here are some other ideas: