How Do I Train My Dog to Put Her Toys Away?

At the end of the day, do you find yourself picking up your dog’s toys away? All the while, are you wondering to yourself if your dog can put her toys away on her own at the end of the day?

She may not be able to help with a lot of the household chores, however, she can learn to pick up her toys. Teaching your dog something new will actually be stimulating for her. It will also be a bonding moment for the two of you to enjoy.

Break up the steps

The idea of having to fetch a toy and drop it into a box can be overly complex for your dog. It is important to break it down into understandable steps.

After your dog masters each step, then you can introduce the next step. The goal being at the end of the training, she will be able to fetch a toy and drop it into a basket or box.

Where to start and items that you will need

Whether you are training an older or a puppy, it is important to keep your patience intact. Both will tire easily, and both can only concentrate for a short period. Keep training sessions short but regularly. Make sure she is having fun and treats are important too.

To begin, pick a quiet area where nothing can be a distraction. You will need to gather a few items. This will include your dog’s toys. Make sure to choose the toys that she plays with often.

You will need a basket or box. Lastly, you will need her favorite treats.

Training an older dog

  1. Know what the dog’s limitations. Is your older dog a little hard of hearing or maybe even blind. Knowing their limitations is important when it comes to training. For a dog who has trouble seeing, spray their toys with essential oil. Make sure to always use the same oil, or it will confuse her. The sent will guide the dog to her toys. For a dog with hearing problems, use hand signals. Dogs are smart. She will understand.
  2. Does the dog have any physical problems? To overcome challenges with walking, make sure the basket and toys are close to each other. Try to make sure that she is retrieving soft, easy to carry toys. Do not use anything heavy or awkward to carry.
  3. Rewards are everything. Your older dog will learn more quickly when giving praise and treats. Punishments are not acceptable. Remember you are the one that wants her to learn. Be sure to keep it fun. If she is struggling, take a step back, and work longer on the previous step.
  4. Short and sweet is the key to success. Do not tire the old girl. Instead, train often but for a short amount of time. She will look forward to the training instead of running to hide.
  5. Old dogs can enjoy learning new tricks. It may take some time. However, she will begin to pick up and put her toys away.

Training step by step

  1. Learning to put toys is not as easy as learning to sit or speak. There is a long sequence of events that needs to happen. She needs to learn to retrieve the toy, take it to the basket, and let it go.
    That is a lot for any pup to learn all at once. It is important to break it down. Do not proceed to the next step until she is ready.
  2. Now, is the time to give a command. You can use several different work commands such as take it. If your dog’s toys have names, use their name. For example, you would say take Sal.
    Now is time to make the toy look like a lot of fun. You are going to take the toy and squeak it or wiggle it. Make sure to have your dog’s full attention. Now give the dog the command to take it. Once she takes it, give a treat and a lot of praise. Keep practicing until she will take the toy on command.
  3. Now take that favorite toy, and place it on the floor. Show the dog her toy. Point to the toy and command her to take it. Once she takes it, give a retreat and lots of love.
  4. Now, add several toys into the mix. Point to the favorite toy and command her to take it. She may take a different toy and that is okay. However, if she takes that favorite toy, make sure to make a giant fuss. Once she takes her toy consistently, it is time to move on.

Now its time for the basket

Once she is consistently taking her toy, it is time to add the basket to the mix. There are several steps to teaching this process.

  1. Now that your dog understands the take it commands, it is time to teach the drop it command. This will teach him to let go of his toy, and drop it in the basket.
  2. Place the basket close to the dog. You are going to want to sit next to the basket. Command the dog to take the toy.
    With a treat in your hand, wave it over the basket. If the dog loves her treat, she will come over. Now, command her to drop it. If she wants the treat, she will drop the toy to get the treat.
  3. If the dog still does not want to drop her toy, get a better treat. This may mean using cheese, chicken, or even steak. A better treat may equal a better outcome.
  4. Once she is clear on the drop command, move your hand over the basket. Give the drop command and instead of a treat, just give lots of praise.
  5. Now, it is time to put all the steps together. Place the basket and the toy close together. Command the dog to take it.
    Once she picks up her toy, give her the command to drop it. Once she is clear on all the steps, introduce the command to clean up. Soon she will be picking up her toys when she hears the command clean up. Make sure to offer treats and lots of praise.

More toys

It will be easy to add more toys to the training. Once she understands the command, the toy will not matter. However, other objects that are on the floor may find their way into the basket.

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