How To Teach Your Dog To Put Away Their Toys

For dog owners – and especially for those who have just got their first puppy and want to make sure that they get off to the best possible start – proper dog training can be an absolute lifesaver in a variety of different ways.

For one thing, a well-trained dog is easier to take out and about, and can interact with other dogs and people comfortably without you having to worry that they are about to suddenly misbehave and cause some serious issue or other.

Getting your dog properly trained can also help to increase the harmony of the household, as it can prevent your dog from trying to constantly engage in dominance contests, for example. It’s also certainly a good thing if you can train your dog to avoid making a mess, or going into part of the house where they shouldn’t be.

One thing that can be very useful is to teach your dog to put away their toys after playing, in order to reduce excessive mess.

Here are a few tips for that.

1. Make the whole process easier by choosing toys which cause less mess

Certain dog toys are simply more likely to cause a serious mess than others, all else being equal.

Toys that can easily be broken or torn can end up leaving debris around the home. In addition to being potentially unhealthy for your dog, these sorts of toys make it much more difficult to keep things tidy and organised. While you can train your dog to put toys away, you probably can’t train them to sweep the floors as well. At Willy & Dilly, our dog toys have a firm, textured surface that is satisfying for your dog, fulfilling their instinctive need to chew. 

At the same time, certain toys – such as fabric ones – naturally hold and accumulate dirt more easily, and will therefore cause more mess in the home whenever they are moved around.

Choosing “low-mess” toys, such as the natural, tough, antimicrobial rubber toys offered by Willy and Dilly can make this whole process much more straightforward.

2. Start by training your dog to “drop”

In order to train your dog to put their toys away, you need to start by training them to drop their toys on command.

To do this, start by giving your dog the toy to hold, and then holding out a treat and saying “drop” at the same time. If the dog drops the toy to get the treat, pet them for positive reinforcement.

Then, repeat the process over a toy storage box multiple times so that your dog is used to dropping the toy into the box. You can start leaving the treat in the box as well, so that they get used to interacting with the box directly.

As this process becomes more ingrained, you can command your dog to “drop” the toy from a distance away, to get them used to approaching the box on their own.

3. Practice routinely, and challenge your dog more

For any training to stick, you have to get your dog practising routinely. Go through the routine of getting them to drop toys into the box multiple times a day – and then make things more challenging by, for example, leaving multiple toys around the room.

There are various expert training guides and approaches out there for fine tuning this process, but this is where you should start.

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