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Ideas for training my dog to put his toys away

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I would teach a retrieve to hand, and a drop on cue before starting this.


Once the dog can do both, I have a small basket that I hold in one hand, have the dog retrieve the toy, but instead of reaching for it, hold the basket out under the toy in the dog's mouth and cue "drop". When I started this with Dean, I literally moved to catch the ball as he dropped it until he started to understand that I was wanting him to put it in the basket.


I do this over and over, using a thrown toy to reinforce the behavior.


Once the dog has the idea, I set the basket on the floor in front of me and repeat until the dog is looking to put the toy in the basket. At that point, I might start to use a new cue to mean "put it in the basket" like "basket".


From there I will start to move the basket away from me slightly, and after the dog gets the toy and is bringing it, I will cue "basket" and point to it. I'll admit I haven't taken this beyond a few feet, but it would be very easy to increase the distance or change it into a send-drop.


From there, if the dog has learned separately to pick up toys by name, I would put out two, ask for one (ex. "get the ball" or "get the frisbee"), and then cue "basket" after the dog retrieves the right toy.


Sounds like a fun trick!

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I taught Levi by having him do the end result first. So I had the bin out and held a toy up and waited for him to touch it with his mouth. I clicked/treated for that and in just 2 minutes he was opening his mouth onto the toy. Within another few minutes he was holding the toy for split second. Always treated for each attempt to mouth or hold the toy and then upped my requirements for a click-making him hold the toy for a few seconds. Each time he let go of the toy it fell into the bin that I had placed underneath him. So after he was grabbing toys from my hand and 'dropping' them into the bin I started clicking when the toy hit the bin (when it made the noise of hitting the bin). Then I put the toy on the ground in front of the bin and waited for him to offer the behavior. It sounds complicated and as if it would take forever to teach but it took about 5 quick sessions before he was picking up a toy and putting it in. I then upped my requirements by making him put more toys in the bin before he got a click. By the end of the week he was putting 8+ toys in the bin before getting a reward. I found a video on youtube which showed this method. Before that, I was trying to get him to pick the toys up off the ground and then place them in the bin but it was clearly not working and he was wildly throwing the toys all over instead of deliberately placing them into the bin.

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