Week 2 – Toy to Box Training Plan

Okay, here is the training plan for teaching “put a toy in the box”.  I chose the word “clean” for my cue but you can, of course, choose a different word.

Goal: When cued to “clean” Dan will pick up a toy and put it in the box.

Shaping steps:

  1. Position box in front of you between you and your dog. Hold a toy over the box and ask your dog to take the toy. Once he grabs it, even a little, let go and wait for him to drop it. As soon as he lets go, click/treat.
    • Repeat until he is getting it right every time.
  2. Now place the toy next to the box. If he picks the toy up, click/treat
    • Repeat a few times to reinforce picking up the toy from the ground.
  3. Place the toy next to the box. Wait for your dog to pick up the toy and take a step or two toward the box. Click/treat for moving toward the box. To get the treat, your dog will need to let go of the toy J.
    • Repeat a few times to remind your dog that the box is important.
  4. Now, when you place the toy next to the box, wait for your dog to pick the toy up and drop it over the box. Click/treat for dropping it over the box.
    • For the first few repetitions, even if the toy doesn’t go in the box you should click/treat.
    • Then, require that the toy land in the box before your dog can earn a click/treat.
  5. Next add the cue.  As your dog picks up the toy and heads for the box say “clean” then click/treat for dropping it in the box.
  6. Once you have gotten this far, you can begin to place the toy further from the box or in random locations around the box.

Note: From step 3 on, if your dog makes a mistake, take the toy back and put it back in the same place on the floor. For example, if you are working on step 3 and your dog picks the toy up and drops it without moving, simply put the toy back in “start” position. This way, he won’t get in the habit of picking up the toy, dropping it near the box, then picking it up again and dropping it in the box. Instead it will he will learn the smoothly and deliberately pick up the toy and put it in the box on the first try.