How would you like a helping hand--or in this case, a paw--with carrying your groceries into the house? Most medium to large dogs can be taught this simple trick, all it really takes is dedication on your part along with plenty of time and patience.
The one thing you must be sure of is that your dog is big enough to handle the task. While you can teach any dog to carry a shopping bag, be sure to match the size of the bag and how much you put in it to the abilities of your dog. For example, a Great Dane will be able to carry a large bag and heavier load than a Border Collie.
The plan is to teach your dog to help you by carrying bags of groceries from your car to the kitchen or, if you have a service dog, from the store to your car and then from the car into your home. Sounds simple enough, right? While most dogs like to carry things around, teaching your dog to carry a plastic shopping bag can prove to be more challenging as most dogs don’t like the feeling of this material in their mouths.
In fact, it can take up to several months for you to reach the point at which your four-legged assistant will be able to come out to the car and help you with the groceries. However, he will enjoy learning and being able to do his part to help out the family. You will also be teaching him a new command such as "fetch the groceries" or simply "groceries" while you train him to do what you want when he hears the command.
While there is not a specific age limit at which you can start training your dog to carry the groceries, he does need to be old enough and big enough to handle the task. If you start too early, you risk injuring your pup by overloading his carrying capacity.
Part of a successful training program involves having everything you need on hand at the outset. These include:
My dog Zeke will pick up the bag but not hold it and sometimes when he tries to pick it up he steps on the bag and then he can’t pick it up
Hello Kayden, I suggest teaching pup the hold command from the link below, then tell pup to "Hold" once the bag is in his mouth. https://wagwalking.com/training/hold-an-object Break down the training in steps, first just work on rewarding pup for each individual step of picking up the bag, then picking it up and holding it, then picking it up, holding it and moving forward a step or two. Don't expect too much at once before praising and rewarding, to keep pup encouraged and engaged with training. Once pup is ready to move forward with the bag, reward attempts to move forward. Once he is attempting to move forward readily, then have him release the bag again as soon as he steps on it, and reward moving forward without stepping on it only at that point - until he can do it consistently. Evaluate the type of bag you are using too, you may need to start with a shorter bag or something that he's less prone to stepping on, until he has mastered that part - then transition back to the bags you want him to carry long term. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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