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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Put away toys and pick up trash

Something to lighten the mood a little from my thread in the health forum...

I've taught Renji to pick up his toys (still working on doing them by name, needs to be a daily practice) and put them away into his toy box. This is a really cool behavior and fun to do with the clicker. At one point, on his own, he picked up a toy from the floor, dropped it into the basket, then chose another toy! That was really cool and I really rewarded that. I'm hoping to see it more often so I can continue to reinforce putting toys away before picking out new ones.

The next trick, and I am proud of this one, I did entirely by "clicker training" and not "training with a clicker." I sat back and gave no feedback nor direction whatsoever and let Renji "behave" and figure things out. I had the wastebasket and a crumpled piece of paper on the floor (which turned to several crumpled pieces due to drool). I started this out by marking interest in the wastebasket to the point where he would stick his muzzle down it, then I began to click for interest in the paper. It took a lot of treats but in just the first session he figured out that I wanted him to pick up the paper and throw it away. Now sometimes he'll take OUT paper and tissues from the wastebasket but I try to nip that in the bud by jubilantly marking dropping stuff IN and distracting him away from the wastebasket by treats and playtime for reward.

I am using both in daily practice- he will pick up tissues and paper on the floor and even A GLASS ROOT BEER BOTTLE and deposited them in the trash. Okay, first he had to lick out all the last delicious drops of root beer but who can blame him? I am so shocked that he accomplished that; the glass bottle was a toughie for him, especially because I had to interrupt him if he started to get chewy. I do tell him to pick up his toys and put them away which helps with keeping the room tidy. Both are fun tricks to train!

This has also helped him with picking up random objects. The other day I dropped my glove as I was on my way out the door, and my joints are pretty well falling apart and I just did not want to bend over. I pointed to it and asked him to pick it up, and lo and behold he did! We've worked on picking up the remote, getting my keys, etc. He'll never be a service dog due to his temperament but it's good practice for me if my joints get to a point where an assistance dog makes sense and it's also a lot of fun for him; he loves to work. I will get video of these behaviors when he's feeling better and when he's a bit more polished.

I am probably going to teach him to find my iPhone. It has a plastic and rubber case which I may rub some vanilla or other scent in, then teach him to track it down by that scent. We had a scare once where I lost my phone in the cattle pasture and since then I've been thinking that it would be ever so wonderful if he could search out the phone's scent on command. I sure do lose it enough.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 06:13 PM
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Re: Put away toys and pick up trash

We are working on this too! Both dogs are doing great with putting the toys away.

I got Bison to throw away his yogurt container (a treat for them), but I got thinking that maybe I DON"t want to teach him to throw things away. He gets a little too enthusiastic sometimes and I am afraid that he might throw away something that I don't want thrown out.

I don't think that you will need to put a scent on the phone to get him to find it. He should be albe to identify the phone scent. What if you start out by having him select it from a group of items that are right in front of him. Then do something like the shell game with it, put it under something and have him find it. Then, hide it in a room and have him find it.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 06:32 PM
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Re: Put away toys and pick up trash

Imagine if you can train the dog to clean your house. That's more useful than a high five. I'll be wanting your updates.
And pictures.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 07:10 PM
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Re: Put away toys and pick up trash

This is great Diana! I can't wait to see the video. It is really wonderful that Renji is starting to be able to help you do stuff around the house.

I really would like to teach Rafi to put his toys away...it's just finding the time to do it. I can't even find the time to put them away.

Ruth & the 4 Legged Rescue Gang

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 11:11 AM
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Re: Put away toys and pick up trash

Does this work on grown kids and husbands? How about to load the dishwasher? Please keep these tips coming
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Put away toys and pick up trash

I stand by my statement that dogs are infinitely easier to train than people.

Today I asked Renji to put away his toys and he did very well with it. I then handed him some vendor advertisements from the conference I was at and asked him to throw them out. He did very well, wanting to run off with only one of them, but he is good about taking them to the wastebasket. Less good with dropping them in, but we're working on it. But for the next few minutes, he kept hovering by the can trying to sneak some out to play with! Silly goose! I asked him to toss out a tissue that had fallen and he did with no problem, but again tried to snark a card. I kept gently but firmly telling him to leave it, but this is something we'll have to work on a lot. Still, I am impressed. He is getting very good about taking things from my hands and carrying them places. I'm in a fair amount of pain now so he's helping me a lot.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 08:55 PM
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Re: Put away toys and pick up trash

Diana, this is so cool! Renji is a great dog and so wants to please you. OK - with just a little of trying to turn it into his own game.

For years I have been saying I should teach Skye to put her toys away, but I never do it. You've inspired me to make this the month!

Thanks.

Bonnie

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2010, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Put away toys and pick up trash

Awesome, Bonnie! It's a really fun "job" to teach. Keep us posted on your progress!

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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So I am knocked on my butt sick and trying to find ways to quell the raging Renji beast. I had a pile of pamphlets and paper ads from the recent job conference on the couch plus a bowl of mixed nuts, so I put Renji to work. I handed him paper and asked him to throw them out. Sometimes he would get it in right away but usually he would either "pit stop" on the carpet or spit it out at me on the table in hopes of starting a game. As we played more, he got more consistent with depositing items in the basket. He is starting to want to pull things OUT to continue the game but I am hoping to quell that habit by immediately emptying the wastebasket in the trash and also redirecting by playing fetch. Renji is getting much better about putting away his toys. I used to have to give him a lot of "handler aid" by pointing to toys and then moving close to the toy bin and pointing there, but now I can say a toy name and point to the toy from the couch and point toward the toy bin from the couch while asking him to "put it away." The light bulb is starting to come on that yes, I want him to move away from me and put the toys in the bin. I guess nuts are a powerful motivator.

I'm making a concerted effort to work on these tasks a lot more. A few times he has saved me from bending down (the way up is hard on my joints) in order to pick up stuff and he clearly loves the jobs. Good boy, Renji, and thank you.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 12:05 AM
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My Lizzie will happily put her toys in the basket when told to but will take them back out and scatter them again. I tell her to put them back in the basket she puts them all in the basket and soon as the last one goes in the basket out they come again....

Barbara
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