Determine what special equipment you will be using for carrying the rings: a basket, a harness with a pillow attached, a pouch attached to his collar? Also, what will your dog be wearing, a bow tie, a top hat, a doggy tux? Make sure that you train and practice with all the clothing and equipment you will be using on the big day. Start working, training your dog several weeks or months before the wedding, so you don't run out of time as the wedding day approaches and other demands crop up, and to ensure your dog has lots of time to become comfortable with what is required of him. Ensure your dog is comfortable with lots of people and crowds; try to find a way to simulate the experience and expose your dog to a similar environment ahead of time. Be sure to include your dog in the wedding rehearsal. Consider having a handler available, that can step in if things go wrong and to take custody of your dog after his delivery of the rings, to keep him happy for the duration of the ceremony, and take him home or to another venue if he is not going to be part of the reception.
I want to teach Abby to be our ring bearer at our wedding
Hello Alyssa, What type of training does your dog have so far? Are they off leashed trained? Okay with crowds nearby? Know how to Heel, Sit-Stay, and Come? I would start with the general manners pup will need to calmly walk past people down the aisle, come to whoever the dog is trained to deliver the rings to - like the bestman, groom, you, or pastor, then Sit or Down and Stay during the service, either up front with the wedding party or next to someone watching the ceremony. Once pup can do those things, decide how you want pup to carry the rings? You can secure them to something like a basket or large jewelry case and teach pup a hold command, so that pup is fetching the rings to the person they are supposed to come to. Check out the fetching article I have linked below and the sections on Come, Hold, Drop It, and Take It especially. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-to-fetch/ You can also secure the rings to pup's collar in a jewelry bag or case so that you don't have to teach pup to hold anything, just to walk down the aisle and go the person they are delivering to. Most of all you will want to practice this scenario in a similar location and with the person sending pup and the person pup is supposed to go to ahead of time several times to make sure pup is ready. You can even practice this in a crowded location outside, like a park or farmer's market past crowds with pup on a long training leash to mimic similar a scenario. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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