When you walk with your dog, you can notice different dog owners and dogs. Some dogs run and roam free. Others walk in heel by their owner. Some carry a ball or a log in their mouth.
And today, we will talk about how you can teach your dog to carry something in his mouth during walks as well.
Why should you teach your dog to carry a log?
First off, why should you even bother to teach your dog to carry something in his mouth? Shouldn’t his mouth be free so he can sniff around?
Well, that is one way to have your dog walk around. Another is to keep his mouth occupied. This way, he cannot pick up something from the ground, he cannot be reactive and aggressive toward other dogs, and most importantly, your dog has a purpose.
With a log in his mouth, your dog cannot bark at strangers or anything else around. He probably won’t run chasing a squirrel with the log in his mouth. And he cannot pick up feces from the ground.
Your dog now serves the purpose of carrying something. Dogs want to taste achievement as well. For them, carrying the log or ball gives them that sense of achievement and purposefulness.
Your dog will be happy, he cannot react to other dogs, and he won’t even notice them. With proper training, you can have your dog WALK HAPPILY and ignoring other dogs and the environment around him/her.
Isn’t that something great and beautiful?
Teach your dog to pick up objects
Before you can teach your dog to carry a log on walks, you have to teach him to pick up and hold objects. For this purpose, follow these steps.
- Present an object to your dog and give him a command to pick it up
- Praise him “good boy” and reward your dog when he touches the object or picks it up in his mouth
- Repeat a few times
- Once your dog understands to pick up the object, add the hold command
- Give your dog the hold command when he picks up the object
How to teach your dog to carry a log?
You can teach your dog to carry a log, or a ball, or any other object. Some owners teach their dogs to carry their favorite toy during walks.
Now, the most important part of this exercise is that you need to find a toy your dog absolutely loves. Or an object he already loves. You cannot do this with an object your dog doesn’t like or love.
It is your job to create excitement for the toy. How to do that? Well, play with the toy, and hype up the toy before giving it to your dog.
Now, as for teaching your dog to carry a log or a ball during walks, it is a simple exercise. Once you have your dog excited for the ball/log, go on a walk.
Give the log/ball to your dog. Start your walk, and the moment your dog drops the log, you end the walk. You pick up the log/ball, turn around, and you go home.
After a while, come back for a walk. Give your dog his favorite ball again. And go on a walk. The moment he drops it, you end the walk.
Or, you can try a different approach. Give your dog a ball and let him carry it. The moment he drops it, pick it up, put it in your pocket, and continue walking. You will notice your dog will be eagerly asking you to give him the ball.
Now, the important part here is to not crack under pressure. Do not give your dog his ball back while he is whining, barking, or jumping over you. Have your dog in a sit position, and then give him the ball or log.
How do I do it?
When we first started playing this game, I gave him a ball while coming back home. I gave him a ball, told him carry it, and he did. The moment he drops the ball, I pick it up. I put it in my pocket, and continue walking. I
This is one of my favorite games to play with Milo, my Jack Russell. Usually, I give him a ball only in one direction.
Usually, he is excited to go forward to our eventual destination. But the way back is a bit more challenging. This is why I give him a ball to carry while we go back. He loves it. And while we walk, we try all sorts of different things. I have him stop, sit, drop it, and then throw it and carry.
And the best part about teaching your dog to carry a ball on walks? He will walk in heel or right by your side. He anticipates commands like drop it, and then throw the ball. And while carrying the ball, he doesn’t bark at other dogs.
Isn’t that a WIN-WIN situation?