Teaching your Border Collie to tidy up their toys is a fun mentally stimulating thing to teach your dog and also helpful to you. Them cleaning up after themselves makes your life easier while also giving them more exercise.
The best way to teach a collie to tidy up their toys is by combining and expanding on simpler commands like ‘get it’ and ‘drop it’. With lots of positive reinforcement and consistent training, your collie will soon learn what it is they are supposed to do.
Teaching them while they’re young is best but Border Collies can learn at all ages. They should be constantly learning new tricks and commands as part of their routine to make sure you’re meeting their mental needs.
How To Teach Your Border Collie to Put Away Their Toys (Step by Step)
1. Teach them to Get Their Toys and the ‘Drop It’ Commands
If your dog doesn’t know these tricks yet, they need to learn them. This makes the process of teaching them to combine these skills into one command much easier. Without doing this, training will be more difficult.
Teach both commands separately and be consistent with the words you decide to use. Using a command such as “take it”, “pick it up” or “get it” can be taught by rewarding your dog when they naturally pick up their toy and reinforcing the phrase you decide to use.
Do this until they learn what the command means. When teaching “drop” or “drop it”, you do the same thing and reward them when they put the toy down.
There are no right or wrong words to use for these commands but “drop it” is the most common for telling a dog to put something down. Once you’re sure they’ve learned what both words mean, you can move on.
2. Teach them to Drop The Toy in a Specific Place
While your dog is holding their toy, take them to where you want the toys to be placed then give them the “drop it” command. As the toy is placed into that location, pair it with the “tidy up” command and reward them for doing it.
This is the best way to teach them where to place their toys. It’s important you do this with different toys and different types of toys so they don’t associate the command with just that item.
When training a Border Collie, always use treats! They don’t turn down a good treat or snack and while using them technically isn’t needed but it makes the process easier. Your Border Collie will quickly learn what you want with plenty of treats.
3. Use Treats or a Toy for Positive Reinforcement
After they’ve successfully dropped the toy into the right place, give them the treat. This is a great starting point but once they know what the command means, you can start to reward them for cleaning up several toys in a row instead.
The aim is to be able to clean up all of their toys so once they understand what “tidy up” means, you should encourage them to move several toys before rewarding them.
As they get better at this skill, you can start to increase the number of toys they need to move to get a treat.
4. Move their Toys Further Away
As your Border Collie improves, you’ll want them to start getting toys from further away. This could be in the same room or in another part of the house.
Once they understand what the command means, they’ll be able to take their toys to the drop-off area from anywhere.
How far away you want them to collect toys from depends on your house and if you want them to tidy away all toys. In some cases, it’s a good idea to keep at least one toy in each room for your dog to access.
5. Once They Get It, Practice Often
When it comes to Border Collies, the lack of consistency can cause all kinds of problems. You need to always use the same commands when teaching them to tidy up their toys.
When you first start training you’ll need to use other commands but you want to start getting them to only use “tidy up” as soon as possible.
This also means always keeping their toy basket or bin in the same place. Moving it too much will confuse them but you can do this if the basket is moved very slowly over weeks.
Conclusion – Teach your Collie to Tidy Up
The process of teaching your collie to tidy up their toys is straightforward, but it might take some time.
- Teach your collie to ‘fetch’ their toys
- Teach your collie the ‘drop it’ or ‘leave it’ command
- Practice dropping the toy in one place every time
- Reward your collie with a treat when they get it right
- Start moving their toys further away each time
- Practice often, and don’t forget the rewards!
- Consider buying a box or basket to store the toys in.