Training Tip from the AKC GoodDog! Helpline
It may seem that play has little to do with training. But the majority of dogs love to play, and you can use anything your dog loves to your advantage in your training program.
Play can be used as a reward and also a motivation to enjoy working with you. Dog daycare and dog parks can be great sources of socialization and exercise for dogs, but make sure your dog also considers it fun to play with you – and not just other dogs.
Create interactive games with your dog – tug of war, chase (the dog chases you – not the other way around), hide and seek, retrieving. If your dog does not want to give you the ball, Frisbee, etc. after you throw it, then always trade off – have a second toy to throw or a treat to trade off with the dog.
If you have a multi-dog household, make sure each dog gets some time just playing with you – without the other dogs – so they do not think playing with dogs is more fun/more important than relating to/playing with you.
Use toys and games as part of your regular training routine!