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Training your dog to carry a bucket is a relatively simple task, made easier by the fact that most dogs like to carry things in their mouths and that they like to feel useful. While this type of training is more about fun than about teaching him a new chore, it does come in handy. You can teach your dog to bring you a bucket out in the garden or carry one back to the house for you. In reality, training your dog to carry a bucket is just an extension of teaching him to retrieve or fetch a specific item. For many dogs, the hardest part of the training is teaching your dog what particular item you want him to carry or bring back to you.
Not only is teaching your dog this neat trick going to prove useful, it can also be used as a great party trick when you have company. The best part is that your dog will enjoy what he is doing and in time you may find him doing so without being asked to.
The task at hand is training your dog to pick up a bucket and then to bring it to you or carry it along as you go for a walk. You can teach virtually any dog to carry a bucket as long as he is big and strong enough to carry the bucket. However, since this trick does include carrying a certain amount of weight, you may want to wait until your pup has matured and his bones have had a chance to fully form.
You can use any command you choose as long as it is unique to this particular task. You might try, "bring me the bucket" or "fetch me the bucket", making sure your dog knows what bucket you are talking about. This is a relatively easy task for most dogs to learn and should only take a few weeks for him to master.
It doesn’t take much for you to get started training your dog to carry a bucket. You need a few basic items used in most forms of training, including:
- Treats: To reward your pup for getting it right.
- A clicker: An alternative training tool used by many professional trainers.
- A bucket: Be sure to get one your dog can handle both when it is empty and when it has stuff in it.
- Patience: You can never have enough patience when you are trying to teach your dog new tricks.
- A quiet place: Most forms of training are best done in a quiet area free of distractions such as traffic, kids, TV noise, and other animals.
Like most forms of dog training, you will get the best results when you start out in a quiet yard or room in your home. It could take a few days for your pup to get used to the feeling of the bucket handle in his mouth, but time and patience (as well as a large supply of treats) will pay off and before long, your pup will be hauling buckets anywhere you need him to.
The Backwards Method
Place the handle of the bucket in your dog's mouth. Give him a ‘drop it’ command and reward him with a treat when he does so.
Move your hand further away from the bucket and let him come to you before he releases it. Give him a treat for getting it right.
Have him pick the bucket up and "give it" to you. More treats.
Move further away and give the dog your chosen command. When he complies and brings the bucket to you, be sure to give him lots of praise and treats.
Take it outside
Finally, have him fetch the bucket and carry it with him as you move around the yard or go for a short walk. Training him like this is very effective and in most cases, will take very little time.
The Peanut Butter Method
Encourage your pup to touch the handle of the bucket by putting a little peanut butter on it.
When he does, give him lots of praise and a treat.
Place the bucket on the floor and tell your dog to pick it up using your choice of commands.
Next place the bucket on the floor a few feet away from your dog and, using your chosen command, encourage him to go pick it up and bring it back to you. Give lots of treats and praise when he gets it right.
Finally, start moving the bucket further away until he will fetch it and carry it to you whenever you ask him to. Soon he will go fetch the bucket and carry it to you or anywhere else with you such as to the front door filled with candy for trick or treaters.
The Take It Method
Tell your dog to get the bucket using the ‘take it’ command.
Have your dog bring you the bucket and reward him using the clicker and a treat to let him know he has done well.
Extend the distance a little at a time, clicking and rewarding him each time he brings you the bucket.
Put the bucket on the floor and walk away several feet or across the yard or room.
Give your chosen command and reward your dog with praise, clicks, and of course a treat. It won't take much of this training before you can simply say "fetch me the bucket" and your pup will dash off only to return with the bucket swinging from his mouth.
By Amy Caldwell
Published: 12/26/2017, edited: 01/08/2021