In a past life, I think Mr. N would have made a good circus dog. Assuming he didn’t try to chase the elephants.
He likes learning tricks (and he’s good at it!). And he loves being the center of attention. But there was one area of tricks that was totally closed to us. Retrieving tricks. A lot of tricks are built around your dog fetching on cue.
Most of the advice I came across suggested teasing your dog with the object and they would try to mouth it. Well Mr. N wouldn’t even do that. I would throw a toy and he would look at me with this quizzical look on his face.
I stumbled across this Youtube video for dogs that takes a different approach to teaching them how to fetch. It’s meant especially for dogs that don’t naturally mouth things. You use dog chews to teach them how to mouth on cue and transfer that to a wooden stick.
I used a bully stick because that’s what we had in the house. Mr. N would pick up the bully stick with his mouth. I would click and treat. We did a few rounds of this and then I tried giving him a bamboo skewer. And then he started mouthing that and picking it up.
This video is amazing. For people who are having trouble getting their dogs to even mouth things, I would definitely recommend this.
Something clicked in his brain. Within a day or two, he started bringing back objects and releasing them to my hand. We’ve been working with different objects and he totally gets the concept now.
I thought it was going to take us weeks if not months for him to learn how to put away toys in his toy box. And just a couple of days after we started working on fetch, he figured it out.
Yesterday, we were cleaning out objects from under the couch. I was holding a sock in my hand when Mr. N took it from me unexpectedly. I started laughing when I realized he thought we were going to start training and he wanted me to throw it for him.
Next on our agenda… a handstand maybe?
What training successes or triumphs have you had with your dog(s) or other pets?