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5 Steps To Train Your Dog To Put Their Toys Away

5 Steps To Train Your Dog To Put Their Toys Away

Chris Cole
14/11/2017

Is your floor forever scattered with dog toys? Your dog can help clean up when they're done playing if you teach them this fun trick. Though it's advanced, most dogs can learn if you break the task down into five easy steps.It's also helpful to use a clicker to mark the very moment your dog performs the correct behaviour. If you don't have one, you can say, "yes!" though it using a clicker is the more precise way to let you know exactly when they've done right.Your training goal is for your dog to be able to pick up a toy from the floor, take it to their toy bin, and drop it inside. The cue can be you pointing to a toy on the floor and saying, "put it away!"

Step 1

First, teach your dog to pick up a toy from the floor. Some dogs will pick up a toy if you point at it, others may need you to toss the toy so they will go after it. Click, then reward your dog with a small treat like Coachies Natural Treats. If this comes naturally to your dog, you may only need to practice this a few times before moving on to the next step. Some dogs will need more time on each step than others.

Step 2

Next, teach your dog to bring the toy to you. Some dogs are more likely to retrieve with little help, others need to be taught step-by-step. At first, have your dog pick up a toy just a few feet away, and call them to you when they have the toy in their mouth. If they drop the toy before returning to you, don't do anything, just point to the toy again. If you're very close to the dog and their toy, they'll bring the toy to you eventually, even if by accident at first. Click and reward any time the dog moves towards you with the toy in their mouth, even if they only take a few steps. You don't need to say anything to your dog, just guide them by pointing.

Step 3

Then, teach your dog to target your hand when bringing the toy. Hold out your hand when your dog gets close to you, and click and reward them the moment the toy lands in your hand. If they drop it at your feet, and not in your hand, you can toss the toy again so they can try again. You don't have to say or do anything if your dog doesn't get it right, just have them try again. Avoid frustrating your dog, which makes training less fun for them. Whenever they get it wrong, make the trick easier by getting closer to them, or even going back to the previous step.

Step 4

When your dog has gotten pretty good at bringing you a toy that you have pointed to, sit behind the toy bin and encourage your dog to bring the toy to you again. When your dog brings the toy to you, do not put your hand out. Your dog may then drop the toy, and if you're sitting behind the toy bin, it may land inside. If it does, mark, reward and praise your dog. After they have completed this action a few times, you can finally add the "put it away!" cue.

Step 5

Finally, teach your dog to put their toy away even if you are not sitting by the toy bin. You may need to point to the toy on the floor, wait for them to pick it up, and then point at the toy bin at first. Phase out the pointing as they start to understand that they must put the toy in the bin when you say, "put it away."

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