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Toy Testers’ Verdicts: The Clam

The Clam: it’s our most popular toy EVER.

We came up with its nifty design in 2015 as part of our mission to create the ultimate training aid for positive, reward-based dog training; one that would spark the interest of even the most unenthusiastic of dogs, and get them focussed and ready to train.

Small enough to fit in your pocket and the perfect shape for throwing, The Clam is made of two ‘shells’ that hide between them a beautiful pearl (also known as a doggy treat!).

The two shells fasten easily together and there is a clever opening which is large enough for your dog to push their nose in and get out their treat – but too small for the treat to fall out when The Clam is thrown.

The Clam has now featured in several TV shows and helped thousands of trainers and their dogs get remarkable results.

 But we didn’t just want you to take our word for how awesome it is, so a few weeks ago we asked our Facebook and Instagram followers if they fancied testing one out for us.

We had an incredible response and chose four lucky Toy Testers to give The Clam a whirl and share their thoughts. Here’s how they got on….

Kirsty & Loki

Kirsty and her energetic 18 month-old springer spaniel Loki (@_lifewithLoki on Instagram), from Solihull, Midlands, put The Clam through its paces with their agility, canicross and general training.

What appealed to you about the Clam?

Kirsty: ‘I wanted to start moving away from a ball as a reward (as Loki goes a bit too crazy for them!) and The Clam seemed like a great option. I was excited about the opportunity to reward from a distance as well as keeping his brain ticking!’

What are the biggest things you struggle with in training?

Kirsty: ‘Motivation. Unless it’s ball, Loki often isn’t interested.’

How has the Clam helped you tackle these?

Kirsty: ‘We followed the tips for using The Clam that came with our toy, and Loki understood exactly how it worked in minutes. Since then, we’ve been successfully using it in place of a ball as a reward during training and we’ve had great fun. 

Any results you can share?

Kirsty: ‘It’s early days but already it’s helped me with training Loki to be calm when travelling in the car and as a reward when he follows commands during agility training. An added benefit is being able to use it to ‘ditch the bowl’. Now I fill The Clam with kibble to play games at home so Loki gets his breakfast that way.’

Would you recommend The Clam?

Kirsty: ‘For sure! It’s really well-made and I know we will get hours of fun out of it, as well see improvements with our training.’

Rob, Daisy & Harry

Rob and his two adventurous beagles, Daisy, 4, and Harry, 2, from near York, North Yorkshire were eager to see if The Clam could help with recall and scentwork training.

What appealed to you about The Clam?

Rob: ‘The Clam is the perfect reward-based training toy for beagles as it’s super strong and incorporates food (both important things with a beagle!).’

What are the biggest things you struggle with in training? 

Rob: ‘The biggest problem with Daisy is getting her to repeat things, it’s almost like she’s thinking “we’ve done it twice why do we need to keep doing it?”. Harry’s issue is getting distracted by other scents.’

How has The Clam helped you tackle these?

Rob: ‘Being a typical beagle, Daisy will do just about anything for food and The Clam magically has an unlimited supply of treats which she really appreciates.

‘As long as I’m using his favourite treats inside (dehydrated liver, kidney, heart or lung) Harry will fetch the clam 95% of the time all because he can smell and wants the treats. This is much more productive than giving treats for retrieving a ball.’

What are the advantages of using The Clam during your training?

Rob: ‘The Clam is great if your dogs like to play fetch and eat! Harry loves it because he’s guaranteed to get a treat. Daisy just doesn’t play fetch so for her it was more about her working for a treat.’

How does The Clam compare to using other toys?

Rob: ‘We find both dogs will play for longer which we put down to the magic treat dispenser that’s hidden inside The Clam.’

Any tips you can share?

Rob: ‘The best advice we can offer it to use a favourite treat with a strong smell, we found this helps keep the dogs interest ,even after they eat the treat. 

‘The Clam washed well and still looks as good as new but remember it’s not a chew toy so isn’t unbreakable!’

Laura & Eddie

Laura and her adorable rescue terrier Eddie, aged approximately 4-5 years, from Mold in Flintshire, Wales, wanted to see how The Clam could boost their rehabilitation, agility and trick training….

What appealed to you about The Clam?

Laura: ‘The Clam is perfect for Eddie as he is nota food oriented dog. He will turn up his nose at readily available treats! However if he has to work for the treats, they become very rewarding. The Clam is perfect when training as it becomes a very high value reward and increases his focus.’

How have you used The Clam?

Laura: ‘Unfortunately we have not been able to do any agility/outdoor training due to me having to go in for an operation. However, we have done lots indoors on our trick training while I recover. Eddie was very quick to pick up the association of treat inside The Clam – it only took a few minutes until he fully understood and The Clam itself became the reward.

‘We work by shape training, positive reinforcement and reward-based training. Holding The Clam, I instantly have all of Eddie’s attention. We have currently been working on weaves, guilty, twist and spin for an exam. When he performs the desired behaviour or part of the behaviour he is instantly rewarded by a "yes" and throwing The Clam. This helps to pinpoint the exact behaviour we are training for.’

What have been the biggest benefits of training with The Clam?

Laura: ‘The fact The Clam rewards him away from the trainer is great for us as he can get very close when training and this can cause some confusion / difficulty. For example, when first teaching "spin", he was so close trying to get to where the reward was (in my hip bag) he kept spinning into my leg and not being able to perform the behaviour as easily. With The Clam, we don’t have that problem.

‘Although we have not used The Clam for our agility yet, I can 100% see how it will be a great benefit to be able to send him away through obstacles, and working independently. He will not want to instantly return to handler after the jump if the reward is thrown ahead of him, this will help him with his forward thinking.

‘Another benefit of The Clam is the fact you do not need to feed treats to hand. Being a rescue dog, Eddie can sometimes snatch a little when excited which can be painful if he accidentally catches your fingers. The Clam completely gets rid of this problem – and because of its bright colours and size he never loses his treat!’

How does The Clam compare to using other toys?

Laura: ‘Eddie’s favourite toy reward is a sheepskin tuggy from Tug-E-Nuff. Although it’s an amazing toy, again, it is a close contact toy and reinforces him coming back to me after the obstacles meaning he is already half thinking about turning back to me instead of staying focussed on the next obstacle. The Clam is a much better tool because he isn’t relying on me for his reward.’

Diane & Misty

Diane and her 4-year-old border collie, Misty, from Fife, were keen to see how The Clam could help with their range of reward-based training, including heelwork to music/freestyle, rally obedience and scentwork.

What made you want to try The Clam?

Diane: ‘I liked the idea of The Clam for rewarding Misty at a distance as in Freestyle she would look better if she would work at a distance, but she struggles to leave my side as she lacks confidence and is quite nervous.’

How long did it take Misty to ‘get’ The Clam?

Diane: ‘She took to The Clam really quickly (she is amazingly quick at solving puzzles). She will run after The Clam and then takes it off to open it. Crucially, she then brings it back to me to refill it. I would say this is the main benefit as normally when we play with a ball she runs off with it and drops it so I have to go fetch it.’

What are the best ways you’ve discovered for using The Clam?

Diane: ‘We’ve most enjoyed using The Clam as a fun game around the house. I've tried The Clam at training club but other dogs want it so chase her which is difficult as she is already nervous. We have stuck to using one of your faux fur tuggies with the bungee handle in training club which she absolutely loves. I prefer using The Clam in the house and garden as I find she isn't as interested in it out on walks as there are too many other things to investigate.’


Do you fancy being our next Toy Tester? Make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram to be the first to hear about the next opportunity!

Discover more about The Clam, read our five-star reviews and buy your own innovative treat dispensing toy here.


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