I finally convinced my husband to let me foster a dog, and now I have a precious pup in my house who’s as sweet as can be! He’s a beautiful husky mix, good with kids, good with cats, great with Max… and loves to chew kid’s toys! In truth I can’t really blame him, he’s only 10 months old and he’s on strict instructions not to run, jump, play, or take long walks due to a broken leg. Yes, that’s right, a 10 month old husky on bed rest. He’s going crazy and dragging me down with him. But it’s not all bad, we’re finding things to do – like training. And one of the things we’re working on is appropriate chewing. Liberty goes after kids toys when he gets bored and after a week of following him around, taking stuff out of his mouth, I remembered a game a friend of mine told me about years ago.
I can’t remember the name she gave it, but we call it “thank you”. The point of the game is to get your dog to bring you things they would otherwise chew up, like stuffed animals, or Barbies, plastic food, Shopkins, shoes… you get the idea.
“Thank you” is the positive alternative to “drop it”, and while I’m not against the second command, it’s just not always the best choice. For one, some dogs are like children and just don’t respond to certain words, and if you’re having to give the command six times while arguing maybe it’s time to try something else. Additionally, “Drop it” only works if you’re there to see what your dog is doing and give the command. And, personally, I have two small children. If I’m taking care of them and the dog is in the other room munching away on Pinkie Pie’s leg, I’ll never know until it’s too late. If , on the other hand, Liberty knows he’ll be rewarded for bringing the toys he finds to me, I don’t have to be there when he grabs it; I just need to reward him for doing the right thing.
I will say, that while we’re making progress, nothing is learned overnight, and sometimes he brings me a toy that he doesn’t really want to let go of. You’ll see that in the video 🙂 Even still, “Thank you” is an easy game to learn, and chances are your dog will be searching for things to bring and mooching treats off of you in no time.
Here are the things you’ll need:
Treats – start keeping a few in your pocket at all times (at least for a little while)
Something you dog loves to chew on, but shouldn’t
Start by laying out a few things your dog can’t resist. My children happily do this for me all the time!
Stay nearby, and when you’re dog grabs something, gently take it from him while saying “Thank you”
Once your dog let’s go, take the item and immediately reward with a treat.
Practice, practice, practice, and soon enough your pup will start brining you the things they find, instead of chewing them up.
Take a look at this video to see how Liberty in practice (Sorry about the quality)
*Bonus, they’ll help keep your house clean. Once your dog gets in the habit of picking things up and taking them someplace you can start working on cleaning up their toys 😉
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below!
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