Darn, picked up something heavy the wrong way and put your back out again! Can't bend over to get your socks or keys (or anything else for that matter) off the floor? What if your dog could do it for you? Having your dog able to pick items up off the floor and bring them to you could be a game that's fun for your dog, or it could come in really handy and be super useful if you can't bend over! Some dogs even learn to identify and pick up items by name.
A Border Collie named Chaser is able to identify over 1,000 items by name and fetch them--now that's a smart and useful dog! While you may not need your dog to pick up 1,000 items, teaching him to pick up dropped keys, a wallet, or clothing items is not that difficult, gives your dog a job to do, which is good for his mental stimulation, and builds your relationship with your dog by working as a team. Plus, involving dogs in daily tasks is good for their emotional development.
Teaching your dog to pick up items you have dropped is not that hard for dogs that mouth naturally. It can be a little more challenging for dogs that don't, but there are ways to encourage and train mouthing behavior, and even a non-mouthy dog can be taught to pick up dropped items. Dogs can be taught at a relatively young age to pick up items off the floor with their mouths and bring them to you. If you teach a young dog, they should have developed good permanent teeth so that baby teeth are not ripped out or damaged. Remember that teaching the dog to let go of an item is just as important as teaching him to pick up the dropped item. Otherwise, his picking up behavior will not be that useful to you. You can even add names and verbal commands to common household items you want your dog to pick up off the floor, such as keys or socks, or teach a command to “pick up” whatever you point at. The dog should pick up the item, bring it to you, and then release it to you when asked to “give it”. You can make a game of this while training so that your dog finds it fun.
Start by using an item that your dog can easily pick up, like an empty toilet paper roll, a toy, or a small article of clothing. For dogs that are not “mouthy” you may need to teach them mouthing behavior with a narrow chew toy such as a small soft chew or rawhide stick, and transfer the mouthing behavior to a chopstick and then larger items. You will need lots of high value treats to reward the behavior you are developing and a clicker to capture the behavior is very useful. Teach your dog the 'give it' or 'drop it' command with a toy that they carry in their mouth prior to teaching your dog to pick up dropped items to make the behavior easier to develop.
I am trying to train Quinn to pick up items. and eventually put them in a basket. He will pick items up. but then he gets so excited at the prospect of a treat that he intently throws the item in the air (cute but not what I am looking for). I am looking for tips on the holding of the item.
Hello, I can picture that and I bet it is cute! The Chase Method and the Squeaky Toy Method may work for you, in particular, the Chase Method encourages bringing things back. https://wagwalking.com/training/bring-you-something. Because Quinn is treat oriented, the Take it and Drop it Method may be good here: https://wagwalking.com/training/clean-up-his-toys-1. The Reel In Method here may help: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-puppy-to-fetch-shoes. Have fun!
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I would like the dog to retrieve my cane when needed. She knows the cane and will touch but not bring it to me
Hello Michael, I suggest teaching a few individual commands, then adding the commands together one by one. Start out by teaching each individual command and rewarding the steps to learn that specific command. Once pup can do the commands each individually, give pup two commands together and reward after pup has performed both commands. When pup can do that, give three commands in a row, then reward at the end of three commands in a row, ect...Until you are only rewarding the full action of going to the cane, picking it up, holding it in their mouth, bringing it to you, and dropping it into your hand. Fetch - your dog already knows this one as going to the Cane and touching it, so cue that first. Take It - "Teaching Take It" section: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-to-fetch/ Hold: https://wagwalking.com/training/hold-an-object Come - "Teaching Come" section: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-to-fetch/ Drop It - "Teaching Drop It" section: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-to-fetch/ If pup is struggling to learn the commands above with the cane, I suggest using something similar to the cane but smaller and lighter at first to practice, like a stick, then transition each trick and series of tricks to the cane once pup is doing pretty well with just the stick. Keep working on pup going to the cane and touching it and rewarding that so they remember that item's name though, while using the stick for other commands. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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