This is a great trick to teach your dog. You are doing this for your dog, you know, to give him something fun to do. This isn’t about you at all. You are ALWAYS able to find your keys. You would not deign to try to turn a fun dog game into a chore to help you locate misplaced keys when you are in a hurry to get out the door. No. This trick is not about us, it is all about the dog. Yea, that’s it.
Finding the Keys
- Place your ring of keys in a small room. For best results, use bulky keys and have some key ring accessory that is soft and easy for the dog to grab.
- Reward any movement your dog makes towards keys. If your dog does not make a move toward the keys, do something to attract her attention there like jingling them while calling the dog.
- Over the day and next few days, progressively reward your dog for greater interaction with keys.
- Once your dog can identify the keys reliably, say the word “Key” when he does identify them.
Now get some treats and let’s have a formal training sessions:
- Place dog in the Sit-Stay position.
- Let him sniff keys.
- Toss keys a few feet out and release your dog.
- If he goes for the keys, praise. If not, do more work, like in the first section above, in small room.
- Once the dog reliably goes to keys, start saying the words “Find the Keys” as she does.
- Progressively extend the distance where you place keys.
- Leave the dog with the Stay command, walk out and place keys, then walk back, and release the dog.
- Once your dog understands “Find the Keys”, you can start to hide the keys in the another room.
- Place the keys in plain site and follow your dog as he searches.
- Reinforce with treats.
- Once in a while, place the keys in different rooms and let him bring the keys to you.
Of course this method can work with other items, Find the Toy, Find the Leash, Find the…and so on. Be sure to use rewards.
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