How to Teach Dog to Put Toys Away (FUN, Cute & Useful!)

Do you wish you knew how to teach dog to put toys away? It’s fun and convenient to have a dog tidy up his toys. Dogs love to retrieve, so learning to put toys away is not as hard as you might think.

How to Teach Your Dog to Put Toys Away – Step by Step

Train your dog to drop a toy
Teaching a dog to put toys away is fun and stimulates the dog’s problem-solving capabilities.

Step 1

First, teach your dog to drop a toy when you say “drop.” Start by giving your dog a treat and praise when he drops the toy.

Consider buying a clicker and learning to use it to communicate to your dog the exact moment when he did the praiseworthy deed.

Step 2

Choose a box that’s large enough for your dog to easily drop toys into. Practice using the drop command over the box, and withhold the treat until the dog drops the toy into the box.

Step 3

Begin teaching your dog to fetch or retrieve toys from across the room and then drop them on command.

Step 4

Teach your dog to fetch or retrieve toys from across the room and withhold the reward until the dog drops the toy into the box.

Step 5

Begin increasing the number of toys the dog has to put into the box before receiving the reward. Increase by only 1 toy at a time until the dog is putting away all of the toys.

Step 6

Teach the “put your toys away” command in conjunction with basic fetching skills. The final step is to withhold the reward until the dog complies with “put your toys away” and completes the task.

Read our related article, How Many Toys Should a Dog Have? Find out how many toys your dog should have in this quick guide!

How to Teach Dog to Put Toys Away – Tips & Tricks

There are a few things you can do to speed up the process and help you dog to learn the commands and complete the task thoroughly.

Don’t Give Up

Did you know that you can teach any dog to obey commands?

The idea that senior dogs can’t be trained is a myth. Dogs love to learn new skills and training them stimulates their brain and helps keep them sharp into seniority.

Mix it Up

Place toys further away from the box as the dog gets more adept at putting the toys away. A fun way to increase difficulty (and thorough cleaning) is to combine training with a hide-and-seek game.

Teaching the dog to find “hidden” toys will help him to clean more thoroughly later, looking for toys that have slipped under and behind furniture.

Start with Favorites

Start training by using a favorite toy. This will be the hardest toy for the dog to learn to drop, but it will make it easier for you to get his interest in retrieving.

Start with a favorite toy for each step of training so the dog is more interested in the activity.

Be Extra Patient

Some dogs learn fast, and others take a painful amount of repetition before they catch on. If you begin to feel anger and impatience with your dog, it’s best to stop training and have some cuddle time instead.

Losing patience, yelling, or punishing the dog for not doing it right will quickly turn the training into something the dog dreads and resents. If this happens, you’ll be very unlikely to get the results you want.

Training Should be Consistent and Frequent

Train on only one skill per session with your dog
Plan on working on only one command when you set aside time for training.

Dogs can get confused when you try to combine skills in a single training session. Focus on a single skill and don’t move on until the dog has acquired the skill.

Reduce Treat and Increase Praise

Once your dog begins to complete a skill regularly, decrease the number of treats you give, while maintaining or increasing verbal praise and cuddles.

The inconsistent reward is the surest way to ensure that your dog complies with your wishes because they always hope to get the treat, even though it isn’t a guarantee.

Keep treats handy and don’t fail to give them to your dog periodically along with lavish love and praise when they clean up their toys.

Consistency is Key

As with anything in life, much of the skills your dog will learn will be due to your patience and consistency with training.

Carve out time as often as possible, preferably in short spurts to avoid exhaustion, and practice these skills over and over until your dog has them down pat.

Once your dog knows how to clean up dog toys, have him show off his skill every night by cleaning up his toys. Always give a reward for completion, though it doesn’t always have to be a food treat.

Dogs love and thrive on routine, so getting into a routine of clean-up will be a source of security and contentment for your dog.

Concluding Thoughts

You can train your dog to do many wonderful things, and enrich your life and your dog’s life in the process. We recommend these training books for making the most out of your dog.

Have you taught your dog to put his toys away? Which methods did you use to teach your dog to put his toys away? You can leave a suggestion in the box below!

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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