“What’s in my mouth stays in my mouth!”
Most dogs would say this, if they could talk. If you have a new dog or a dog that refuses to share his toys or guards his food dish, here are some tips to get your dog to trade.
If you have more than one dog, be sure to take your dog away from other dogs so that his lessons in trading are not interrupted. Make sure there are no small children around for their safety.
Photo credit: dogs of WOOFSTOCK by Ryan from Toronto, Canada
Cut up small bites of your dog’s favorite treat. Chicken, hot dogs (in little odd pieces not round slices that can block his breathing) or dried meat dog treats work well.
Keep the treats in your left hand.
Give hand signal cues with your right hand.
If your dog doesn’t like sharing his toys bring them and set them up high where he can’t get them. If your dog guards his food, do this lesson at mealtime and use his food bowl, but don’t fill it. Put just a few bites in his dish because you want to trade five to ten times in his first lesson.
Say your dog’s name and ask him to “Sit.”
Then tell him to “Stay.” Give him one of his tiny, yummy treats and say “Good dog.”
Give him his toy or food dish then quickly say, “Drop it” or “Trade.”
If your dog stops eating or drops his toy, reward instantly and praise.
Repeat and use the same cue word each time.
Keep practicing trading as long as your dog is interested.
Stop after 5 to 10 trades.
Repeat everyday or several times a week until your dog loves trading. He should quickly drop a favorite toy or leave his food dish on your cue word. Soon, he will not need a treat every time; your praise will remind him of the fun of trading.
Dogs understand fairness and trading. But most dogs need to be taught that trading their favorite thing is a good thing.