health


Make Your Dog Your Little Helper


Make Your Dog Your Little Helper

Make Your Dog Your Little Helper

                          Make Your Dog Your Little Helper
Most dog breeds were bred for specific qualities suitable for work, such as herding, tracking, hunting, and retrieving. Today’s dogs don’t have much opportunity to use their special instincts. But you can capitalize on these inbred traits and tendencies by teaching your dog to help around the house. Choose tasks that are suited to his nature and you’ll most likely find him an eager student and enthusiastic helper. Here’s a sample of household chores that dogs can do.

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Carrying Objects
Your dog can serve as that extra set of hands you’ve needed. Teach him to carry a laundry basket or small bundles or parcels. Train him to bring in the newspaper or chunks of wood for the fireplace. He can drag bags of leaves or lawn clippings to the curb or the compost pile. All this just for some praise, a few treats, and the satisfaction of working!

1. Start with something small, interesting, and easy for your dog to carry. One of his favorite toys is an ideal starting point. Put the object on the ground and tell him to “get it,” or use whatever phrase you like to have him take something in his mouth. (This assumes that he already knows such a command.) Start walking and call him to walk with you. If he drops the toy and starts to walk away from it, stop walking and tell him to “get it.” Don’t start walking again until he has the toy in his mouth.

2. Once he understands that you want him to walk with the toy in his mouth, you can name this new behavior by saying, “Good carry the toy.” When you’ve walked a few yards, stop, tell him to “drop it” (again, assuming that he has already learned this command), and reward him with a treat. Then start again.

3. Have him practice the “carry” command by carrying toys on walks, into the house after an outdoor play session, or from one room to another in the house. After a couple of weeks of carrying toys, give your dog something different to carry. You might choose a newspaper, a plastic bowl, a paper bag with some apples or potatoes inside. It will probably take more encouragement to get him to carry these because he will not be familiar with the textures and the scents may not be as appealing as that of his toys. So reward him lavishly with praise and treats until he is comfortable carrying odd-tasting and unusually textured objects.

4. Once he will carry whatever small objects you ask him to, move on to training him to carry heavier or awkward objects, such as a laundry basket. Start out with an empty basket, then gradually add some laundry to it until he’s skilled and comfortable with it. Now he’s ready to carry the basket around the house for you as you put away clean laundry or pick up dirty laundry.



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