Written by Melissa Viera
A little bit of patience and a sense of humor goes a long way when training dogs.
I hope you had a great weekend. Fall is in full swing today. If you spent the day picking out pumpkins then by now you are probably kicking your feet up. It's the perfect opportunity to talk about training dogs to do specific tasks for us. Wouldn't it be nice if your dog could cook dinner tonight? OK that might be pushing it, but there are tasks that our dogs can help us with. The main reason for training tasks is because it is yet another opportunity to bond with, and communicate with our dogs. It gives them a chance to work for rewards, and interact with their humans. These tasks will challenge your training abilities and give you new goals to work towards. With a lot of practice you might find uses for these behaviors in real life situations.
1. Get A Tissue
The challenge with this trick is teaching your dog how to retrieve a tissue gently and without ripping it up on their way to deliver it. This trick should only be taught to dogs already experienced with holding and retrieving objects. If your dog has a tendency to eat things like tissues and paper, you will want to work on that until you are sure your dog will not try to swallow the tissue. To teach this trick begin with working on the retrieve to your hand with a tissue or something a little less delicate like a rag to start. Next the dog will learn how to pull the tissue out of a box on the floor and finally the dog can learn to go to the box when it is up on a higher surface. With practice this makes a fun and useful trick to have .
2. Tidy Up
Teaching your dog to pick up their own toys is easier then you might think. Begin by teaching them to put their head in the toy bucket without asking them to hold a toy at the same time. I highly encourage you to make use of a clicker for this. Once they have the concept of getting their head in the bucket you can begin handing them a toy just before their head goes in. When they happen to drop the toy in the bucket throw a party! Now ask for your dog to pick up the toy off of the floor and walk it to the bucket. You can continue building on this and adding more toys as your progress. Once it is all on cue your dog will be able to pick up their own toys when you ask!
3. Fetch My Slippers
Cold feet? No problem! Once your dog knows how to hold objects and retrieve objects you can begin teaching them the specific names of things. Your dog will love searching to find your slippers and bringing them to you! This makes a great game for cold winter nights!