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Training Your Dog to Pick Up Her Toys

If your house has begun to look like a minefield littered with toys, you might want to teach your dog the command "Tidy Up!"

  1. Place the toy box in a designated area.

    Deciding on a designated area is a big decision — you can't change the toy box location for a while.

  2. Bring your dog to her box with a favorite toy, and give her the toy.

  3. Snap your fingers over the box. When your dog leans her head over the box, tell her "Drop, Tidy Up" as you offer a treat (which should encourage your dog to drop the toy).

  4. Repeat the drop-in-the-box step four times.

  5. Repeat these sessions once or twice a day.

  6. As your dog catches on, try giving her the toy farther and farther from her box (which should always be in the same area).

  7. After she catches on to this step, go near the box again, but this time leave the toy on the floor and encourage your dog to pick it up.

    You can increase the number of toys she picks up. Start by rewarding only a two-toy drop. Then a three-toy drop, then four.

Now you're ready to start hiring out your very own four-footed maid service!

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Do you have both kids and dog? Here's a good project. Have the kids decorate a toy box for their dog. Let their creative juices run rampant — magazine cutouts, photos, drawings, rubber stamps, computer printouts, and so on. Your dog will love it in any case.

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