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12/12/12

Dog Trick - Teach Your Dog To Fetch A Drink

Difficulty: Moderate

Whether you're reclining on the couch watching a football game or just sitting around with friends, this can be a useful—as well as entertaining—trick for your dog to know. It can also be a fun game for your dog, and once he's learned it he may not want to stop! Just be sure to have a handkerchief ready to wipe down that drink. If you have guests over, a good idea is to be very casual when showing off this trick. Nonchalantly say to your dog, "I'm thirsty Max, go get me a drink." When he comes back, open it up, and continue your conversation with your guests. They should be just as surprised as you are pleased.

Step 1: Get a bottle of soda appropriate for your dog's size and put it on the ground. Tell your dog to "Take It." Click and treat when he does. Do this several times.

Step 2: Now, tell your dog to "Take It" and "Bring it." When he brings it to you, tell him "Drop it" Do this repeatedly and remember to click/treat.

Step 3: Put the bottle a bit further away from you each time. Only click and treat if he takes it, brings it, and drops it into your hands. Soon, you can eliminate the three commands and instead use the phrase, "Bring me a drink!"

Step 4: Try asking him to perform the trick from different spots in the room, and then move to different rooms. It makes a terrific trick for house guests!

OUR EXPERIENCE


When I taught Caspian this trick, I used a 16.9 oz. bottle of Dr. Pepper. That's a pretty big bottle, but I thought he could handle it because he's so big. After a little encouragement, Caspian started knocking over the bottle and picking it up with his mouth. We had to teach him to first knock it over, then pick it up—he was getting frustrated by trying to pick it up. He was also scared of the full bottle; either because of the weight, or because of the imbalance of it sloshing around. We decided to completely empty the bottle to begin with, then fill it gradually as he continually completed the trick. I would tell him to "Take It," and "Bring It;" and this took him awhile to get the first time. I gave him a big jackpot when he did, and took a break from training. In the next session, after some review, this time I would say "Bring me a Drink" as he finished his performance. Each time I had him do it, I would put the drink in a different spot, just a little bit farther away from me. Soon, whenever I told him to "Bring me a Drink," he'd run into the kitchen, grab a drink by the fridge, run back with it in his mouth, and then drop it in my hand!

TEACHING TROUBLE

Why can't he pick up the bottle? Caspian learned to knock the bottle over with his nose or paw, and then pick it up with his mouth. Just be quiet when your dog seems to get frustrated and don't try to prod him. Dogs are smart; they'll figure out what they need to do.

It's too heavy for him! It may not be. That's what I thought when I was teaching Caspian this trick, so I emptied the soda bottle. Of course, he picked it up fine. I kept clicking and treating when he would take it, and while he was eating his treat, I filled the bottle up little by little with water. Soon, the bottle was filled up all the way to the top, and Caspian picked it up just fine. He was just not used to carrying something that heavy in his mouth, but after we worked on it, he didn't have any trouble.

Tip: "If you're having trouble getting your dog to pick up the drink bottle, try getting him to first learn to knock the bottle over before trying to pick it up."
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