Smush the Dog Picks Up His Toys

“Smush is a 2.5-year old short-haired brown Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) and Red Miniature Pinscher (“Min Pin”) mix who has recently learned how to pick up his toys. I'm not 100% of his breed makeup as I got him from an animal shelter in Orange County, CA. He weighs just under 20 lbs.

Ok, well, I taught him to pick up his toys only because he has so many and plays with them all the time. So not only is it cute, it's pretty useful too. The trick is basically that you point to a toy and tell him to put it away and he'll pick it up and throw it toward his toy basket and keep doing that until it's in the basket.

This was the hardest trick for me to teach Smush. It took, on and off, several weeks to learn and we did use clicker training methods to speed up the process. He's still working on it, and eventually, I'm hoping he'll just pick it up and drop it in the basket like the trick is intended to accomplish.

Here's how we did it: We started off by rewarding any contact with the toy and then moved on to rewarding any contact with his mouth. Then we moved on to him putting the toy in his mouth and rewarding that. Eventually, I guided him to learn that when the toy ended up in the basket, he'd get a click and a reward. This takes a lot of practice and patience but so far it looks like we're getting there!

Some people unfortunately, call him “smoosh”.” -naoki1978