Indoor games are great for you and your dog to play together! This is especially true for apartment and city dogs, or even dogs with their own yard when its too dark or cold to play outside. Part of your responsibility as a good pet parent is to keep your dog active and alert with play, and indoor games can be an important part of that fun. Why not teach your dog a cleanup game, so those toys aren’t all over your floor? He will appreciate the interaction with you, and you will love the fact that he cleans up after himself when he is done playing. Here’s how you can teach him this fun game, thanks to our friends over at Petcentric.

Choose a Container

Choose a container and put it in a location that is easily accessible to your dog. He will learn the game using the same container each time, so make sure it is large enough to hold all of his playthings. Once he has mastered the first container, you can add another one in a different location, if you wish.

Reward with Treats

Now this is where it gets fun. Grab a handful of treats, and then engage your dog in play with a favorite toy near the toy box. While the toy is in his mouth, lure him to the toy box with the treat. When he reaches for the treat he will naturally open his mouth to take it, dropping the toy inside the box. Say the command, “clean up,” and offer the treat. Pair the treat with ample praise, so he knows he did something that pleased you. Repeat, repeat, and repeat this process over and over again.

Practice Makes Perfect

The next day, practice this process again. Keep practicing daily for a week. By this time your dog will be excited about the new game.

As with most games for dogs, once it becomes a habit, you will want to start weaning your dog off the treats in stages. Perhaps when you say “clean up,” he is already lunging for the toy box. If so, then start offering the treat with every other toy, then with every three or four toys. Soon, your dog will have learned the command to “clean up” effectively, and you can offer the treat when he is completely done with the task or simply reward him with enthusiastic praise.

Teaching your dog to clean up offers a benefit for both of you. First, it is a fun game that gives his mind and body something to do during the long winter months when outside play is hard to come by. Second, it saves you from the need to pick up the dog toys after a rousing game of fetch. This mutually beneficial arrangement makes it a winning option for a new behavior to tackle as you both wait for spring.

About the Author: Nicole Harms Ever since she got her first puppy when she was five, Nicole has been a dog owner. She loves to write about the joy that pets bring to their owners daily.

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