Somehow, by some unknown forces of nature, the things that my dog Lucas knows how to do best are the things that we never really taught him completely. For example, if we say, “go get your toy”, or “go get your bone”, he will do so and then proceed to play fetch with us or have us hold his bone while he chews on it. While I don’t remember teaching Lucas how to do this, I think I can help you to teach your dog to bring you toys. And believe me, it’s worth teaching, because it’s a great way to distract your dog from other behaviors.
1. With some high quality treats in your arsenal, throw a toy to your dog, or put one near him and command him to either “bring it”, or “give me your toy”. Honestly, whatever feels right for you. For us, it’s “give me your toy”, and it works great.
2. When he brings the toy over, give him a treat and verbally reward him or use a clicker in addition. (If he comes to you without bringing the toy, do not reward him, but redirect him back to the toy and try step 1 again).
3. Repeat steps 1-2 several times until he begins to bring you his toy with little to no prompting. Continue to command him regardless each time.
4. To continue to reinforce the behavior more thoroughly, drop the toy in different places and command your dog to bring you his toy. Keep reinforcing with treats until the behavior is learned and the treats are no longer necessary. Use verbal praising afterwards to continue to reward your dog for his success.