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We all have collections of half-eaten toys lying around. During our training, we decided it was a good idea for our pets to clean up their own mess. So, we started working on training them to clean up their own toys.

We began with a container to hold the toys. That’s of critical importance. We found several that we like, but ultimately ended up with a large basket that is easy for them to get in and out of.  You’ll want to keep the container in an area where they can reach it and you should never change that place. IF you do, you’ll wind up having your dogs drop their toys in that area forever. Once you have your container, you’ll need to follow these steps:

6 Steps to Teach Your Dog to Pick Up Their Toys

1. Teach your dog how to "Drop". This is one of 5 Commands Your Dogs Should Know, so be sure he knows how to do it properly. He'll also need to know how to "come" and "fetch" relatively well.

2. After playtime, when toys are scattered around the room and your best four-legged friend is relatively calm, gather together some Safe Treats for Dogs and Cats. Scatter your pets' toys within 5 feet or so of the container.

3. Pick up your pet's most favorite toy and invite your dog to follow you to the container. As soon as he is calm, you can give the toy to your dog. You can also ask him to fetch it and bring it to you while you're standing near the toy container. Position the dog to stand over the toy container.

4. Give the command to drop. He should drop the toy in the open container if you’ve trained them on the drop command. That would be a “Good Dog” treatable moment! If you clicker train, be sure to give the signal he did the job to your satisfaction before treating.

5. Walk to another toy and encourage them to pick it up. As he takes the toy, say a command like “Clean up” or “clean house” and then motion him back to drop the toy in the box.

6. Repeat step 5. Do this at least three times per day.

That's about it - the process is a combination of simple "fetch" and "drop" commands that have been expanded into a "clean up" command. Once you’ve done this for a few days, your pets should be able to react to your command of “Clean up” (or whatever command you chose) by picking up their toys, putting them into the basket, and then getting a treat. Eventually you can wean them down to treats after every 2 toys have been put away, or after every 3-4 toys are cleaned up.

The point is to make it into a game. As humans, we all know that part of a game is cleaning up (usually by the loser). But luckily dogs just know that playing is fun, treats are awesome, and therefore - cleaning is fun. It’s up to you to make it enjoyable for them!

This is also a great trick/game to teach when you’re stuck indoors on snow and rain days.


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stacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


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