How to Train Your Dog to Clean Up His Toys

Most dogs get every toy they have and spread it all over the house just like kids.

So, you probably spend time daily picking up their toys and putting them away.

If you can’t teach your kids to clean up their own mess, why not teach your dog?

It’ll be helpful for you, but it’s great for your dog too.


  • Makes him think
  • Expends energy
  • It won’t bother you while you are watching TV or cooking

Your dog needs to be a fetcher to make the trick easy since it’s a bit of a complicated trick.

In the case, your dog doesn’t fetch, first teach him to pick up the toy.

Keep in mind it is a long process. This article is about dogs that already fetch.


  • Some of your dog’s favorite toys
  • Box for toys
  • Treats
  • Clicker (optional)

Steps to Training How to Pick Up Toys

Targeting the box

The box needs to be near you since your dog is used to fetching to you; then toss the toy.

You can use a cue for fetch, but you don’t have to.

When the dog approaches you with the toy, point toward the box.

Important: Do NOT use a verbal cue yet!

If your dog accomplishes the task and drops the toy into the box, say “yes/good” etc.

or just click, and put some treats into the box.

This shows the box is important.

If your dog does not drop the toy in the box, say nothing, and try again.

If you place the box in your dog’s line of retrieve, between you and him, it can help him drop it inside.


You need to make it clear to your dog that the toy must be in the box to get a treat.

When he begins dropping it in the box almost every time (80% of the time or better!), move the box a couple of inches from you and see if he still drops the toy in.

You can continue to move the box away from you if he does it successfully (8/10 times).

You need to move the box back closer to you if he is not successful in doing that.

He isn’t still ready for it.


Picking up Non-Moving Toys

Stop tossing the toy far once your dog is targeting the box.

Now, lay out the toy near the box.

Your dog knows that putting the toy into the box will get him a reward if you have already proofed the box enough.

If he doesn’t do it, then you need to toss the toy longer, slowly building up to a stationary toy.

Adding Your Cue

When you teach him to pick up a stationary toy and place it in the box, it’s time to add the cue.

Say your cue as the dog drops the toy in the box.

Ideas for the cue

  • Pick up Toys
  • Clean House
  • Clean Up
  • Tidy up

These are some suggestions, you can call it whatever you want.

Adding More Toys

Once your dog has it on cue, you can begin adding toys.

So, start by saying the cue and rewarding him for picking up just one toy.

After that, put two toys out.

Do not reward him when he picks up the first toy and drops it in the box, wait him out.

The dog will look for something else to do to get the reward and eventually will pick up the other toy and drop it in.

Reward him well for doing that.

Do not stop adding toys!

When you get to six or seven, the dog needs to understand for getting his reward, he must pick all the toys,

Help him out if he is not picking up the second by putting it close to the box.

Also, you can toss it slightly like you did at the beginning.

Keep in mind the whole time during the training it is a trick and it should be fun!

If your dog or you are getting frustrated just STOP!

Come back to training later.

It may take a few weeks for your dog to get since it is a complicated trick.

But it’s definitely worth it and a great trick to work on when you can’t go for a walk with your dog.


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Raising the perfect dog is about more than just raising a physically healthy dog. Proper attention should be given to your dog’s mental and emotional upbringing. Our website will guide you on how to raise a physically and mentally healthy and well-behaved dog.

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