How to Train Your Dog to Bring You the Newspaper

Medium
4-6 Weeks
Chores

Introduction

Having your newspaper delivered to you every day is exciting enough because you get to sit in your pajamas and slippers and drink a cup of coffee while you catch up on the day's news. What could be better than that? Having your dog deliver the newspaper directly to you, so your neighbors do not have to see you standing in your bathrobe and your slippers spilling coffee all over your feet while you bend over and pick up the newspaper could be better than just having a newspaper delivered to your door. Teaching your dog to fetch the newspaper for you can be not only helpful and beneficial, but also a fun trick to teach your dog. Your dog will be pleased to do something nice for you, and he will enjoy the rewards he receives.

Defining Tasks

Teaching your dog to fetch a newspaper is a useful trick and can be carried across to items other than a newspaper. Be sure your dog knows basic commands, such as sit and stay, and is familiar with placing items in his mouth. Practicing fetch with a ball or a toy will help prepare your dog to fetch a newspaper. You will need to teach your dog what it is he needs to get, how to pick it up, how to bring it back to you, and to drop it at your feet once he has it. Work with your dog in short training sessions of about 5 to 10 minutes apiece each day for several weeks.

Getting Started

To teach your dog to fetch a newspaper, you are going to need some yummy treats to entice him and reward him for positive behavior. Be prepared to teach fetching a newspaper in several phases, starting with mouthing an object and ending with giving it to you. Be sure to practice each new step every day so your dog becomes more familiar with your expectations.

The Simple Retrieve Method

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Simple Retrieve Method
Step
1
Introduce your dog to the newspaper
To introduce your dog to a newspaper and ensure he is comfortable carrying it in his mouth you need to show him what it is and how it arrives on your doorstep.
Step
2
Holding the newspaper
Hand your dog a rolled-up newspaper encouraging him to put it in his mouth. Don't leave it in his mouth for very long.
Step
3
Releasing the newspaper
As soon as he gives it back to you offer him a treat. If he will not release the newspaper and begins to chew on it, show him the treat as soon as you put it in his mouth to encourage him to give it up for the treat.
Step
4
Extended holding time
As your dog gets used to holding the newspaper in his mouth and giving it back to you, extend the time he keeps it by a few minutes without offering him a treat until time is up.
Step
5
Introduce command
Choose a command word or phrase such as ‘fetch newspaper’ and begin to say this command as you pick up the newspaper, give it to your dog, and then take it out of his mouth before giving him a treat.
Step
6
Create distance
Once your dog is used to the command, leave the newspaper on the floor on the opposite side of the room and give the command. Wait for your dog to put the newspaper in his mouth and bring it to you before rewarding him.
Step
7
Practice, practice, practice
If your dog is used to playing fetch with toys, bringing a newspaper is not a difficult task to do. However, he will need some practice understanding that that is the item you wish to have. If your dog does not immediately bring the newspaper to you and drop it, you can train the drop it command or entice with a treat.
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The Drop It Command Method

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Drop It Command Method
Step
1
Introduce command
Starting with the drop it command, teach your dog to hold on to the newspaper and then give it back to you by saying the words “drop it”.
Step
2
Drop it
Place a newspaper in your dog’s mouth. Once she has the newspaper in her mouth, hold a treat up to her nose and say the command words ‘drop it.’ At this point your dog should drop what's in her mouth to take the treat.
Step
3
Pick it up
Using the command, ‘pick it up’, put the newspaper in your dog's mouth and say the command, ‘pick it up.’ Offer verbal praise for holding it. Because your dog should know ‘drop it’ once, let the newspaper stay in her mouth for a moment then use the command, ‘drop it’ and give her a treat.
Step
4
Practice
Repeat these two commands together, leaving the paper on the ground and asking your dog to pick it up and then using the drop it command, expecting her to put it down. Do not treat her until both steps are complete.
Step
5
Move away
Continue to practice ‘pick it up’ and ‘drop it’, but further away from the paper. Place the paper on the opposite side of the room, working your way up to a longer distance. Using the command ‘pick it up,’ ask your dog to pick up the paper and give her verbal praise. When she brings it back to you, use the command ‘drop it’ for her to release the paper at your feet.
Step
6
Practice with a leash
For your dog to make the connections with your commands to the paper you may want to walk her on a leash a few times as you begin to practice putting the steps together and the paper further away.
Step
7
Newspaper command
Once your dog has ‘pick it up’ and ‘drop it’ mastered with the newspaper, set the newspaper on the front doorstep and practice the commands from a distance. To do this, start putting the newspaper in the same place where she will find it every day and use the command ‘newspaper’ so that she understands the newspaper will be on the front porch every day and that it is the object she will retrieve pick up and drop at your feet.
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The Clicker Training Method

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Clicker Training Method
Step
1
Introduce the newspaper
Give your dog a newspaper to hold say the word ‘newspaper.’ Once she takes the newspaper, click and offer her treat. She should drop the newspaper when she hears the click because she knows a treat is coming.
Step
2
Practice and Repeat
Continue practicing this 10 to 15 minutes a day for about a week, getting her to understand the newspaper you are putting in her mouth is the item you will want her to retrieve. As she is more versed in understanding the newspaper is the object, put the newspaper down on the ground and use the word ‘newspaper’, encouraging her to pick it up in her mouth. Every time she puts the newspaper in her mouth, click and treat.
Step
3
Drop It
Once your dog has retrieving the newspaper down, begin to use the command ‘drop it.’ With a treat and your clicker in one hand, when she has the newspaper in her mouth, say the command to drop it. As soon as she drops the newspaper, click and treat.
Step
4
Toss the newspaper
Once your dog can pick up the newspaper and drop it by command, practice tossing the newspaper a few feet away and asking your dog to pick it up with the ‘newspaper’ command and then drop it once she brings it back to you. Be sure to click and treat once you have the newspaper from your dog.
Step
5
Practice makes perfect
Keep practicing these steps with your dog and a newspaper, only extend the distance between you and the newspaper each time your dog successfully has a new distance down. Over time, you should be able to have your dog fetch the newspaper from the sidewalk or the front porch where he will normally find the newspaper as he learns that is what you wish for him to fetch and bring to you.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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