How to teach your dog to bring you something

Teaching a dog to bring you an item is a culmination of several commands put together.  In order to teach this command you have to break it down and shape simpler behaviors.


First, you must teach drop it and take it.  You can do this with several methods but I prefer the one that teaches your dog the two commands with one game, tug of war.  As you are playing with your dog in a spirited game of tug of war, pull the rope (I suggest a rope toy for this) tightly against your body and say “drop it” until your dog releases.  Dogs figure out pretty quickly that once you have stopped playing (holding the rope tightly against your body), it gets boring so they naturally release the item.  This may take a few moments so be patient – you may have to say “drop it” a few times to get your dog to release the rope from their mouths.


Once they release the item, pick it up high above your head so they can’t re-lock-on for a moment.  Then, 2 seconds later, bring the rope back down to them and say “take it” and of course they gladly will.  Play a little tug of war, say 10 seconds worth, and repeat the process of pulling the rope tightly against your body and saying “drop it”.  Continue this cycle for 10 minutes a day for a week to make sure your pup truly gets both commands “drop it” and “take it”.


Next, you need to teach fetch.  In a small space, say a hallway, use your dog’s favorite toy and toss it a few feet away and say “fetch”.  When your dog picks up the toy say “take it”.  When he turns to come back to you say “bring it” at the same time you are using your body and sounds to make it exciting to bring it back to you.  When he does bring it back you say “drop it”.  Perform the above for a week, 10 minutes a day.


Last, you will need to identify the item you want your pup to bring you.  Let’s say it’s their favorite toy, a frog.  Put the frog in their mouth and say “yes, frog”.  Put a high-value treat in front of his nose and say “yes, frog”.  Your dog will then spit out the frog and take the treat.  Repeat the above process for a few days until he gets it.


Now, in a short distance, the hallway again, place the frog a few feet away and tell your pup, “bring it frog”.  This may take some time and patience as your dog puts the commands together in his head.  At the beginning, you can point to the frog and say the command.  If necessary, at the beginning, you can move the frog a little so he knows which item you want him to retrieve.  At some point, he will figure it out – “oh you want me to get the frog and bring it to you!”  This could take an hour, a day, or a couple of weeks, but he will figure it out.


The rest of the process is just extending the distance between your pup and the item.  Do it slowly, over a period of several lessons.  If your dog has any trouble, shorten the distance for a while and then start lengthening it again.  Good luck!

Thank You for Your Submission!

Thank You for Your Submission!