Not being able to find your cell phone is a pain. It's not lost….it has to be somewhere in the house….it's just that you can't put your hand on it. You end up with a ritual where you pat yourself and clothing down, empty your bag, check the car, and come back indoors to have someone call the phone so you can track it down by sound. Only, you then remember its on silent.
How amazing would it be, if your dog was trained to retrieve the phone? Using his awesome sense of smell, finding misplaced items is a joyful game to the well-trained dog. Just think, no more hunts behind cushions and under magazines. You simply issue the command "Find the phone" and the dog sets off, tail wagging, to pick it up for you.
This might sound a flight of fancy, but in truth, many dogs are perfectly capable of learning this trick.
Finding objects is a super-helpful skill, but it's also great mental stimulation for the dog. It gives him a sense of purpose and increases self-confidence when he executes a good find. Add to this that it's a fun activity to teach and suddenly it seems foolish not to do so.
While a puppy is never too young to start training, be aware this is an advanced command. Therefore, be careful not to overtax a puppy, and instead give him a good grounding in the basics such as "Sit" and "Stay".
Again, be aware that some dog breeds such as retrievers, labradors, and beagles have an inbuilt genetic advantage over others. So if your dog is a slow learner, don't get impatient but work at his pace, encouraging him at every step.
It's super helpful if your dog already knows basic commands such as "Sit" and "Stay", along with how to fetch items and drop them into your hand on command.
In addition, you will need a quiet place to train the dog, free from distractions. It's best to work in short bursts, with as many brief sessions throughout the day as you can find time for. However, always keep things light-hearted so that the dog enjoys 'focused play' rather than work.
You'll also need:
Remember, some dogs will master this trick quickly, while others will struggle. If your dog is slow to catch on, work patiently in baby steps, only moving onto the next step once he has mastered the one before.