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Put Your Toys Away!

This issue’s Training Tip is a cute trick that also helps you keep your house clean, thanks to your dog! It is contributed by Kim Barton of Ohio, who has had amazing success in agility with her All-American Dog, Logan, formally known as PNAC MACH9 PACH3 Logan Lake Hope MXC2 MJG3 MXPB MJP5 MJPS PAX3 MXC2 XF T2B CGC TDI. Her many achievements include winning the 2017 4″ Preferred National Agility Championship. 

“We entered our first trial when she was a little over 15 months old and at 10 1/2 years old, we are still going strong. Logan has taken me all over the country, competing in seven AKC Nationals, and seven AKC Invitationals, five of which we made finals and placing each time. 

Logan is full of life and spreads joy and smiles to everyone she meets inside the ring and out and as a therapy dog. She’s my true soulmate.”

Read on to learn how Kim taught Logan another skill – putting her own toys away! 

This is a trick I love: Teach your dogs to put their toys away.

I use “shaping” to teach this trick. That means using a clicker and letting the dog figure things out.

I start by sitting on the ground with my dog and a toy. When my dog simply looks at the toy, I click and treat. They quickly figure out how to get the treat. When they are looking at the toy consistently, I stop clicking and treating for that. I wait until they offer more, such as going to the toy or touching it with their nose or foot. Once they consistently do this, I wait them out until they attempt to pick up the toy.

I use this same method through the following progression:

  1. Dog picks up the toy; I either quickly put my hand under the toy so when they let go it lands in my hand OR the dog may offer to put it in my hand on their own.
  2. Next I have a shallow box with me. When the dog puts the toy in my hand, my hand is over the box.
  3. Once they catch on to putting it in my hand over the box, I switch to quickly moving my hand out of the way so the toy lands in the box instead.
  4. After they catch on to this, I switch to the box I want the toys in and give the trick a name.

Voila! No more picking up after your dog!

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