The sequence of retrieving a toy and dropping it into a box is complex. Break down the sequence into individual behaviors as follows:
- Pick up the toy on cue (“take it”)
- Bring the toy to you (“bring it”)
- Drop the toy on cue (“drop it”)
- Drop the toy into a box (“put your toys away”)
To get started, gather your dog’s favorite toys, tasty treats, a clicker, and a box or basket that will become the toy box. Toss your dog’s favorite toy. When s/he picks it up, encourage your dog to move toward you (“bring it”). Encourage your dog to drop the toy near (and eventually in) the toy box (“drop it”). Once your dog is bringing and dropping the toy consistently, begin shaping “drop into the box” by keeping the box in front of you and clicking and rewarding first for his or her head being positioned over the box, and then for dropping the toy into the box (“put your toys away”). Then reward for every toy that gets dropped into the box. As your dog becomes proficient at retrieving and dropping into the box, tossing the toy again becomes the reward!
Watch in this video as KPA CTP Sarah Walsh and Wrigley demonstrate what the finished behavior looks like. For more tips on how to become a better dog trainer, check out KPA’s Dog Trainer Comprehensive course!