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Meet Me with a Toy

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It used to be that when I pulled into my driveway I could see my papillon's head bouncing up and down in the window. He was so excited to see me, and I was equally excited to see him! While the bouncing never bothered me, it was accompanied by wild barking. So, as an alternate behavior, I taught him to bring me a toy. Here's how you can do the same:

Stash a toy by the front door. Every time you open the door, tease your dog a bit with the toy and then toss the toy.

If your dog enjoys this kind of game, he will soon be bringing you his favorite toy to play. By day four, my papillon was bringing me his favorite "Baby Santa." If he forgets his toy, go find one together. My dog is thirteen now and this game makes him look like a puppy!

Training this new behavior of fetching a toy works to get rid of the undesirable behavior of barking, because your dog can't bark and carry a toy at the same time. Dogs are pleased and proud to meet their owners at the door with a toy. Be sure to praise your dog, and then run him outside for a potty break. A game of fetch or tug after that sounds just about right!

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