3. Teaching him how to put his toys away
Once your dog has mastered the art of picking up his toys, you must show him how to ‘tidy’ them away as part of this dog training game.
- Put all the toys out on the floor. Keep a handful of dog treats with you. Place a single treat in the empty toy chest.
- Point to a toy and command your dog to ‘fetch’. He will pick up the toy, as he has been taught.
- Call your dog towards you. He will come, the toy still in his mouth.
- Point to inside the toy chest and say the command you’ve chosen for this dog training game. This can either be ‘drop it’ or ‘clean up’. ‘Clean up’ may be a better command, as your dog can easily associated it with clearing away his toys.
- Your dog will not understand what you mean at first. However, he will look inside the box (where you are pointing) and see the treat. He will try to get the treat, and the toy will fall from his mouth into the box.
- Once the toy is in, praise your dog so that he knows this is good behaviour.
- Repeat the process with another toy and another treat. Your dog will come to the toy chest hoping to find more treats and will deposit the toy in the box in the process.
You will need to practise this over a few sessions. In time, start to reduce the number of treats you give your dog – give him only one treat for every two toys, and then only one treat for every three toys, and so on. Once you’ve practised this enough, you should be able to give him only one treat after he’s cleared up all his toys.