7 Easy Techniques To Train Your Dog To Share Toys

Last Updated: February 1, 2024

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Dog Fighting for toy

Dogs are delightful pets; they can lower your stress level with sweet, playful interactions. But dogs can be very territorial also.

They are predatory in nature, so it is normal for them to be on guard in the presence of another dog. Resource guarding becomes evident in a multiple-dog household. Your dogs will shield their food, pet time, and even toys!

However, dogs are submissive to their humans. You can use the following techniques to make your dogs share their toys.

How To train Your Dog To Share Toys

The Give-and-Trade Technique

As the name suggests, it is a process of training your pet to trade something in return for a reward. Train your passive dog first, as they are much easier to handle.

Start with their least favorite toy and their best-liked treats. Get them to pick up the toy and ask for it back. Wait for them to do it on their own or force them by placing food in front of them.

Reward them the treats for handing you the toy. Immediately return the object to them after they have finished chewing. This tells them that you will not take away their toy forever.

Take it Slow

Gradually work your way up to their most valued toys. Practicing this method regularly will show them that giving away their item is a good thing and there is no need to be territorial.

The give-and-trade technique takes time to implement and must be continued for the rest of their lives.

Teach Them the Drop Cue

Dogs may have breed-specific traits, such as reactions to new scents or responses to commands.

If you want to know all about the different breeds and their traits, visit We Love Doodles for expert advice on your breed.

Most dogs will eventually learn to obey your cues, even though time might vary. Teach them the ‘Drop’ cue when they are being territorial over toys.

Use simple one-word cues, like ‘drop’ or ‘give’. Ask your pet to drop the toy he has been guarding and wait for them to do it. Lure them away from the toy by placing a few treats on the floor. 

Give them the treat immediately once they have dropped the toy. Pair the treat with some petting and a hug.

With enough practice, your dog will learn to drop whatever they have been holding at your simple cues.

Reward Sharing

Fights between your pets in the early morning or late at night fights can be stressful if you are handling a multiple-dog household. These altercations often arise from resource-guarding their toys.

Sit your pets down in an enclosed space for playtime. Give them one toy to share between them, preferably a ball. If a fight ensues, give them vocal cues and wait for them to stop.

Encourage them to roll the ball to the other. Reward them with treats and pets once they are successful. Teach them to pass the toy back and forth between them, prizing them with treats every time.

Condition your dogs to behave like you want them to. Sometimes, it is difficult to understand why they do certain things, but with time it will be easy for you.

Train Them With Proximity Desensitization

Proximity desensitization will allow your dogs to coexist peacefully without becoming territorial. You will need the help of your friend to apply this method.

Keep your dogs at a safe distance from each other. One of your dogs should be the guarding dog, while the other acts as the approaching dog.

With the assistance of another handler, tether or secure the guarding dog with a leash.

Begin by giving them a low-value toy and gradually progress to higher-value items. Once this situation has been established, start bringing the other dog toward the guarding dog. Initiate from a safe distance away from the danger zone.

If your guard dog does not react negatively, reward them with treats. Reward your advancing dog for not grabbing the toy.

The goal is to always be in the zone of proper behavior. If there is an extreme reaction, return to the last safe distance and repeat the process.

Associate Multiple Dogs To More Rewards

When it comes to multiple dogs in the same house, your pet might get agitated at sharing their stuff. The key to teaching dogs to share their toys is associating more rewards with more dogs.

Do not let them think that they have to sacrifice to accommodate another dog in the house. If you have two dogs, get two food bowls, two water bowls, and two beds.

Keep the ration of food the same as they used to have while on their own. Even the time they have with you shouldn’t depreciate. Slowly they will ease into sharing their space and toys.

Reward them heavily for accepting their new canine family. Oftentimes, you will find your dog hiding away the extra treats. Do not worry, as this behavior has simple explanations.

Avoid Punishing Reluctance in Sharing

It is never a good idea to exercise punishment to enforce good behavior. If your dogs are reluctant to share their toys, give them additional time to ease into the process.

Applying punishment or harsh behavior to your dogs will have an adverse effect. Instead of accepting their new pal, your pet will begin to dislike you and become distant from you.

They might even become violent and show aggression, which they did not do before.

Remove the toys that cause the altercations if you cannot get your dogs to share. It is important to address his agitation before attempting friendship with another dog.

Implement the reward system to enforce appropriate behavior while sharing their toys.

Take Them to the Dog Park Frequently

One of the reasons your dog might be reluctant to share its items is its extroverted nature.

Take your dog on regular walks to your local dog park. Give them a chance to get familiarized with other dog scents. Let them play with the other puppies and make friends.

Do not forget to reward their good behavior with treats. Slowly ease them into sharing their toys with the other dogs. As time passes, you will find your dog willingly sharing its toys to earn recognition.

Final Thoughts

Dogs are obedient and can be trained to share their toys.

You can teach them the give-and-trade technique to help them share. Use vocal cues to enforce certain behavior. 

Reward them heavily for sharing their toys each time. Proximity Desensitization and park walk with other dogs will prepare them to welcome more dogs into the home.

When there are multiple dogs at home, make sure to give them more instead of limiting their things. Avoid punishment when they do not want to share their toys.

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About the author 


Steve is a writer with over 10 years of experience in dog training and nutritiion.

His goal is to educate dog owners about the ins and outs of canine behavior as well as keeping up with the latest scientific research in the field.