What could be sweeter than having your little dog drag your shoes to you before work in the morning? Little dogs learn confidence by maneuvering large objects, and all dogs love feeling truly useful. Also, you are more likely to ask your little dog to perform a behavior that is actually useful to you, and that occurs to you to ask for most days. Teaching your little dog to fetch your shoes is a simple and fun behavior that once taught, can be used throughout your little dog’s life to save you one more thing you have to do, as well as entertaining and amusing family and friends.
It is important that your dog not mistake your shoes for her toys. It is best that she not have access to your shoes while you are away from the house, while you are training, or for some time shortly after. Be firm with your little dog throughout training that the shoes are a training tool, and not in themselves a toy reward. Spaniels and other little retrieval breeds will have an easier time with this, while terriers may struggle with the impulse to shake your loafers. Make sure the reward is a good toy for shaking for these dogs.
It is essential in establishing your training goals to define what “fetch shoes” will mean to your dog. Should your dog fetch the shoes placed in a particular location, a particular pair of shoes, or do you want to teach your dog to fetch specific shoes? If your dog already knows her toys by name, it won’t be hard to teach her to fetch a particular pair or fetch multiple pairs by name. If your dog takes easily to commands like 'go to your place' she may easily understand to get shoes in a particular location. Think about your dog’s likes and dislikes, and how you can easily motivate her and communicate to her what you want.
In all training methods, it will be essential to establish that your dog should bring both shoes in the pair. Depending on how big your dog is compared to the shoes, this may require that she make two trips. Make sure you think about this step and how to incorporate it into the training process.