Training: "Put your toys away"


New Member
I've seen alot of cool videos where people trained their dogs to "put toys away" (in a basket or something). Where do you start with this trick? Do you start by associating names with toys? ie rope, bones, and balls? or do you start with pick up?

Thanks we have the part down where she takes everything out but we are wanting to work on the other half.


Experienced Member
My dogs do not know the names of many objects but can still "clean up" most anything.

Basically there are 2 ways that I know of to teach this. Start with something the dog doesn't mind putting in his mouth and a low box or basket. I started with crumpled paper and a box but some dogs find it easier to start with their toys.

Option #1 is purely shaping it. Click for your dog touching the paper, then mouthing it, picking it up, etc. If you wish you can help your dog out by then moving the small box right beneath your dog's mouth as you click. So you're still clicking the pick up but the paper falls in the box. Then you can click when it falls in the box.

Option 2 is if your dog already knows a retrieve you can throw it, click when your dog brings it back to you, but have the box in your lap. Move your hand out of the way so the object falls in the box.

With either way, once your dog is consistently putting an object in a box in front of you, you will need to work on removing your self from the pictures. Slowly move farther away and stop pointing to or throwing the object. Of course then you will be ready to add in multiple objects for your dog to clean up.


Experienced Member
I trained the easter egg challenge similarly. Started with the dogs trading chicken for toys, then for the eggs and putting them IN my hand for a treat. Then held my hand in the basket, then worked up to moving my hand and pointing or cueing basket. All done with clicker and chicken.. :D


They do the same for the toy basket in the closet now. YAY!


Honored Member
i am REteaching this, as we never much used it, and he forgot.
plus, i don't think we had it that solid anyway.
so here's what i am doing: and it's working fine:

I held out a toy, right by his face, and said "Pick Up!" and he put a toy in his mouth, and i had basket on floor but right under his mouth. (If your dog wont' take toy in his mouth, you'd have to work on the cue "take".)

He dropped it, it went into basket which was on the floor right under his face anyway, "thud!"
YAY, click and treat. :D I used a solid ball which made noise, so he could hear it thump into basket floor I think this helped him a bit, hearing it thump into the basket......for first lesson or two, i only used that one ball.

Over time, i move basket just a bit to the side, same thing. He began to turn his head to drop toy into basket.

Then i began to use other toys, he still takes toy from my hand, turns head, drops it into basket.

Then i begin to lower my hand, towards floor, he takes toy from lower position, turns head, drops into basket.

then i move basket farther out, and toy is in my hand on floor. He got it.

SLOWLY i am no longer holding toy at all,
i went from toy is in my hand by his mouth-------- to in my hand a bit lower down under his face--------to toy is in my hand on floor---------- to my hand next to toy------ to toy is just on floor, and i point at it.

Then i now move basket farther out again, now Buddy has to take a few steps to drop toy into basket.

so far, so good.
Next, i will move toys further and further out, and basket further out, and so far, it looks like he will get it all just fine! YAY!!!


Honored Member
Adorably, Buddy is now spontaneously adding in extra toys from all over the floor, into the basket, without even being cued. I guess he LIKES this trick!

oh one more cute thing, is,
when i first started to move the basket out, further away from him,
Buddy put his paw on it, to stop me moving the basket away, with sad pleading eyes, like, "Noooo, i want to keep playing this game!" sweeeeet. too too cute, he thought i was ending the game, when i moved basket further out!! how cute is that??


Honored Member
Buddys' "got it", but a most adorable and unexpected lil twist in his performance, is,
all along, without realizing it, i'd had the toybox to Buddy's right side, every time we played this game.
The other day, i set toybox on his LEFT side, and reflexively, Buddy constantly kept turning to his left side to put the toy in the box, but, of course, the box was not there.
I actually had to back up a few steps in training, & retrain for a box on his RIGHT side, almost from scratch!
that surprised me.:eek:

But with box on his left side, he can run around the room, pick up all toys i point at, and run over and put them in the toybox.
When i moved the toybox to other side of the room, he messed up several times, lol.
so i will have to work a lil more, moving toybox from room to room, even outdoors, etc, to help Buddy learn to LOOK for the toybox!!
HE LOVES LOVES LOVES LOVES this game,:love: just LOVES it. It's his new favorite game now. I strongly recommend trying out the trick for YOUR dog, to see if your dog loves it as much as MY dog does!! It was NOT hard to teach, at all, i sat next to dog, with toybox right beside him, for first lesson or two, as described in post #5 above.
He 'GOT IT" right away, and he looks sooooooooo cute, so enthusiastically picking up his toys, waggin his tail the whole time....he just LOVES this 'game', and Buddy will happily play this for an hour!!! over and over and over, doesn't seem to ever get bored of it!!!??


Honored Member
Buddy did cutest thing when we were first beginning ttraining this trick.
I might not be able to verbally convery how cute this was,
like i said,
to train this trick,
i started out with toybox RIGHT BESIDE Buddy, okay.

anyway, as i begin to pull toybox further out, so he would now have to reach over, and then, eventually take steps,
to drop toy into the toybox, well, as i began to pull the toybox further away from him,
Buddy put his paw on the toybox, to stop it from moving away from him,
and looked at me with pleading eyes,
the saddest lil face you ever saw,
just pleading,
and i instantly realized, oh, Buddy thinks i am putting the toybox away and ending the whole game! awwww...

Buddy wanted to keep playing it, and Buddy seemed to think that i was done, when he saw me pulling the toybox away from him.
poor lil guy, he LOVES this game so much,
his face looked like, "please? please can we play one more game?"
rofl, he is too sweet.
we played "pick up" for an entire hour!!! rofl...he just LOVES LOVES LOVES this game!!! today, i will try it outdoors.


Honored Member
.........then, i will try throwing the toys, and as he brings it back, have him put it in toybox.

and then, advancing to calling out "pick up" as the toy is thrown, so he will bring it straight to toybox instead of me.


Honored Member
Just got to post this, was too funny.
Buddy is embellishing this "pick up your toys" trick now, well, only a few times, but, sometimes,
as he picks up toy,
and runs towards toy box,
and turns around as he is landing,
and throws toy in the toybox over his shoulder as he lands.


guess you'd have to see it, but, it kind of reminds me of ppl who are super skilled at basketball, how they style it up, make it fun to watch as they shoot the balls into hoops?

wow, it was adorable, Buddy IS "styling it up", too funny, now i am trying to figure out how to elicit that all over again, i might have to set about teaching THAT, is just TOO cute to see.


Honored Member
okay, i have hit a bit of a roadblock here. Now, Buddy *only* picks up toys if i point to them. i guess i can't complain,
as that IS eggggzactly what i trained him to do:ROFLMAO: .
i am now wishing to change the trick a bit, and just say "pick up" and have Buddy pick up alll toys in one fell swoop, one after the other. Any ideas on how to teach that?

right now, Buddy happily and eagerly picks up any toy IF i point at it, and say "pick up", and then, Buddy sits, smiling and waiting, for me to point at the next toy he should pick up.....


Honored Member
Could you start by just putting out 2 toys together (so he CAN'T know which you are indicating) and ask him to pick up both before praise and rewarding with a jackpot so next time he is in a hurry to get the jackpot? Repeat and repeat so he KNOWS that this game is just to pick up 2 toys. Then build on from that.

OR could you find a way of setting it up differently, maybe Buddy could do a litter pick and collect lots of empty plastic bottles? then you could maybe transfer this concept to the toys?


Honored Member
hmmm, i will give those ideas a try.
buddy, being "Mr Specific", if asked to pick up a toy, which is close to other toys, picks up one, and instead of running to the toybox,
looks up at me, for approval, before proceeding.
He waits, with the toy in his mouth, for an add'l cue, "put it in" before he puts it in the toybox.
Buddy apparently has gotten the impression, that it must matter which toy he should put in in which order, rofl.
is too cute.

i was just showing that to Craig last night, telling him, "Watch how Buddy wants to make sure he has the RIGHT toy before he puts it in the box." by placing toys right beside each other and pointing....
but a toy all by itself, Buddy runs to put it in the toybox, but 2 toys next to each other, he just picks one up, looks at me, and waits for approval, too cute.

poor lil dog....:rolleyes:


Honored Member
What about waiting him out and shaping this new form of the trick? YOu know he can do this because you said in an earlier post that he had started adding in more toys without being cued.

Have the game set up, cue the first few toys, then when he looks at you just wait, and wait, if he looks at another toy then click, if he steps towards another toy then click, etc. You know he likes the trick so he's not going to run off. Chances are if you wait him out he'll try and persuade you to go on playing in some way. If that way is by picking up another toy then you are sorted.