For the last three days, my friend and I have been training my dogs to retrieve my mobile phone for me, so when I fall, I am able to phone someone to come and help me up, since I keep forgetting to take my phone with me at all times whilst moving around the house.
We originally thought that Coal would be the best one to train to do this as he is the least slobbery of the two and doesn’t chew as much as Tess does. So the first day we just concentrated on Coal for this training. We realised during this training session that it would be easier whilst training to tie a fleece tube around the phone to get Coal used to lifting it without damaging my phone.
We got Coal to the stage of knocking the phone off the table and picking it up but then hit a stumbling block of him bringing it to me but this was amazing for such a short time how quickly he picked it up.
The following day we went back to training Coal but kept hitting the same stumbling block. Since we had tied the fleece tube around the phone combined with the fact that dogs learn from each other we decided to try Tess with it, seen as the fleece tube would get her slobbers rather than my phone!
Tess was able to pick it up from the floor and bring it to me, but taking it off the table was her problem area since for the last 2 and a bit years she has been trained not to touch anything on the table. She did phenomenally well in her first training session and had learned to pick it up and bring it to me.
In todays session, they both did really well again but were still getting stuck at their area of the training. So we thought that even if they worked together to get the pone to me it would be good so we had Coal knocking it off the table, then Tess picking it up and bringing it to me – now thats teamwork lol. The only problem with doing it this way is that if one of the had to spend time at the vets then I wouldn’t get my phone. After they had done it together a few times Tess started doing the whole action by herself and was doing it every time she was asked, she might swing the phone about a bit on her way to give me it but I got it, which was the main objective.
To increase the training we have now started placing the phone in different areas i.e. moving it around the table, footstool etc and asking her to get it and have also shortened the wording to “phone, bring it”, then “phone” again to get her to give it to me. Here is a video of part of Tess’s training today –
So now we just need to keep the repetition up until they are bored of hearing the commands, but what huge progress they have both made, I am so pleased with them both, such clever pups! Once they have fully picked up this training I am going to move on to training them to help load the washing machine and close doors but one thing at a time!