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Train Your Dog to Share

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Excerpted from The New Click to Calm: Solutions for All Dogs in a Challenging World by Emma Parsons.

Object exchanges lie at the heart of training a dog to release potentially dangerous or coveted objects he may have in his mouth. Teaching your dog to touch an object with you holding the other end is a fun game that will get your dog used to you being around his toys and other items that he likes. Dogs that grow comfortable with this game rarely show possessive or aggressive tendencies, so it’s perfect for puppies!  

How to teach the behavior:

  1. Pick a “fun” object like a toy or bright exercise disc. Use an item that your dog likes but is not possessive about.
  2. Hold out the object in front of your dog’s nose.
  3. As he leans forward to touch the toy with his nose, click, put the toy behind your back, and give your dog a really yummy treat.
  4. Present the item again, and repeat Steps 2 and 3 about five times.
  5. When you are sure that your dog will touch the item, give it a name. Say the object’s name right before your dog touches the object.
  6. Continue to practice Steps 2 and 3.
  7. Change the location of the object of the object, by putting it on a chair or on the floor for example. Give the cue for your dog to touch the object.
  8. When he does, click, pick up the item, and toss your dog the treats.
  9. Practice these steps with another item. When your dog is solid on touching the second named object on cue, put down both items and cue one of them to see if your dog can discriminate between the two. Make it a game.

Once your dog is comfortable touching objects, you can proceed with training Formal Object Exchanges at outlined in The New Click to Calm. For more practical solutions for you and your dog living in today’s challenging world, pick up your copy of The New Click to Calm!