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Who wouldn't like to have an extra helping hand when it's time to bring in the groceries? Maybe you've seen videos featuring people who have trained their dog to bring in the groceries. Imagine how nice it would be if the next time you came home from the grocery store, your furry four-legged friend was standing there wagging his tail ready to help carry everything in. The cool part, is that you can train most dogs this trick just as long as they are big enough to handle it.
If this isn't enough to convince you to train your dog to handle this chore, imagine the looks on your neighbors' faces when your pup goes strutting back and forth to the house with his load of bags! You may find that once you teach your dog this trick, he will insist on doing his part every time you go shopping.
So, the idea is to teach your dog to come out to your vehicle, accept a bag of groceries, and then carry them into the house and wait for you to take them from him. Sounds simple enough doesn't it? Like most really good 'tricks", training your dog to carry the groceries in for you may take several months depending on the breed and his previous training.
Is this type of training important? That depends on how you look at it. Teaching your dog to handle this "important" task gives him a sense of responsibility and that he is doing his part for the rest of his pack. Training your dog to bring in groceries should be left until your dog has reached the point in his growth where he is able to hold the bag in his mouth and carry it into the house. Plus, he needs to be able to do this without the bag dragging on the ground.
Before you get started on your journey to training your dog to bring in the groceries, there are a couple of things you need to gather together to make sure training sessions go smoothly and are successful.
- Treats: No training session should ever go on without an ample supply of your pup's favorite treats.
- Quiet: No matter what phase of training you are at, things will always go far more smoothly if you have a quiet place to work in.
- Patience: Training your dog to bring in the groceries is going to take a lot of time, be sure to praise your dog heavily when he gets things right, but never punish him when he gets things wrong. The more time you spend working with him on this, the sooner he will learn to bring in the groceries.
- Voice Commands: The voice commands you choose for this chore can be simple one-word commands such as "Groceries" or perhaps a simple phrase along the lines of "come help with the groceries." The most important thing to remember is to always use the same command and to give it in a firm authoritative tone that lets your dog know you expect him to behave.
- Several Shopping Bags: You will also need several types of canned goods to create loads for your dog to carry.
The One Can at a Time Method
Put your dog on his leash and lead him to the back of your vehicle.
Hold the bag
Hold a plastic shopping bag at nose level and entice your dog to take it in his mouth. When he does, give him plenty of praise and a treat.
Add a load
Now add a can of food to the bag and let him get used to the weight.
Using the leash to encourage your dog to carry the bag and follow you, give your chosen command. If your dog follows you for a few steps and still has the bag, Reward him with a treat and plenty of praise.
Going the distance
Repeat this process until he is bringing the bag all the way into your home. Then try him without his leash, you may have to start with short trips first. Remember this is going to take time for your dog to perfect.
The Drop and Carry Method
Pick one of your pup's favorite toys and drop it on the floor near him.
The pick up
Give the command you typically use when you want him to pick something up like "Get It" or "Pick it Up." When he does so give him a treat.
While he still has the item in his mouth, have him bring it to you and reward him when he does.
Start out in the house and then move outside where the distances are greater. Plenty of praise and treats are needed here.
Add a bag
Next, place the toy in a shopping bag and repeat the process ending with his carrying the bag from the back of your vehicle into the kitchen. Shower him with praise and treats.
Swap toys for groceries
Once he has mastered carrying the bag from the car to the house, you can swap out the toy for groceries a little at a time until he can carry his maximum load into the house anytime you ask him to.
The Take It Method
Holding the bag
Have your dog hold a plastic bag in his mouth containing a light load in it.
Bring the bag
Step back a few feet and have him bring the bag to you. Reward him with plenty of praise and a treat.
Next, try getting him to carry the object into the kitchen. Treats all around when he gets it right.
Move further and further away from the kitchen rewarding him with plenty of treats.
Start at the car
Finally get him to carry the bag in from the car with increasing loads of groceries until he does it willingly every time you come home.
By Amy Caldwell
Published: 12/28/2017, edited: 01/08/2021