Have you ever wished that your pet would help you out around the house? After all, he lives there too! For many families that share a home with a dog, that dog is frequently seen as a member of the family, and as such, maybe he should have a job to do just as everyone in the home does. Your dog might not be able to start the washing machine or vacuum the living room, but that doesn’t mean he has to sit around and do nothing either!
Dogs have been assisting people in the home for many years now, whether it’s by fetching slippers, warding away strangers, or any number of other tasks. In fact, service dogs are often trained for many things to make life easier for their handlers, some of which may be seen as mundane or simple. However, these tasks can be invaluable for a handler who truly needs help. Even something as small as being able to turn on the lights can be a huge help.
Your dog doesn’t need to be a service dog to learn small things like turning on the lights for you when you enter a room. In fact, maybe you just want to teach him as a cool trick to impress guests when they come over! Either way, teaching your dog this small task can be fun and rewarding for both of you.
This task is best suited for larger dogs that can safely reach the light switch on your wall without having to resort to climbing up on anything dangerous or unstable. Big dogs do well with light switches, as their noses are larger and are better for flicking the switch on. This can also be done with a medium sized dog, as long as you provide an appropriate and safe step stool for them to use. It can be tricky, at first, to get your dog to understand what you’d like him to do, but this task gets easier with repetition. After a week or two of practice, your dog will be able to flick the lights on with ease whenever you enter a room.
Before you start training, ensure that your dog can safely reach your light switch without hurting himself or standing up on anything dangerous. This task is best done with light switches rather than lamps with pull strings, as those can be knocked over easily and may break.
Find a tool that works best for your dog to guide him up to the switch. It can be something like a laser pointer, a stick, or your hand. Have some treats on hand for frequent rewards, as this task can be a little confusing. Rewarding for each positive step in the right direction is crucial to really nail the behavior.