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How to make a dog carry a bag

Dog Trick 3. “Carry”

Make your dog useful, teach him to carry the groceries from your car

Dexter loves this one and he does this with such enthusiasm. Again, this trick is done in a number of small steps and he will learn other very useful commands whilst learning the overall trick:

  • STEP 1 – teach him to hold objects. This is best done using one of his toys, but not his favourite ones, as these might be to distracting. Gently present his toy to him, when he takes it off you, praise and treat him. Repeat this and gradually delay the praise and treat so that he needs to hold the object longer before getting a treat. After he has grasped this, gradually start to introduce the command “Carry” or “Hold” just as you offer the toy. When, on command, he can hold the toy for 10 seconds, you may start to experiment with holding other objects, then move onto the second step.
  • STEP 2 – teach him to release objects. To do this, sit your dog in front of you and ask him to hold an object. After a short delay, present the palm of your hand to him and ask him to “Leave” or “Release”. With the prospect of a treat, he may do this too willingly. Still praise and treat this initially, but gradually work up to only treating him when he releases the object into your hand.
  • STEP 3 – teach him to carry the objects. Now that your dog can hold and release objects on command, you can now work on the final step. Again ask your dog to hold the object, then make one step back and summon him towards you, but reinforcing the “Carry” command at the same time. Keep working on this and gradually increased the distance him needs to cover to reach you. Your target should be that he is able to follow you around with the object in his mouth.

Dogs love carrying things, so this trick is not as difficult as it sounds. Vary the objects you ask him to carry and give him loads of praise when he completes a task correctly. Take care not to give him objects that can break or that might be dangerous to him. Carrying light weight grocery bags is a great variation of this, but really, it can be applied to many different objects such as car keys, laundry etc.