Here are some task ideas to work with your dog while you are spending time together indoors.
Army crawling is a fun to teach to your dog. This helps him improve his physical fitness and enables him to be able to exercise himself in the home on wet days or when you have cabin fever and need to do something together with your service dog. This ends up being Sit, Down, Crawl, Roll Over, Stand, repeat again and then vary the order. 20 minutes will tire you and your dog out. You can start to add other orders such as back up, paws up, circle right, circle left.
Some dogs will begin to crawl without training when attempting to sneak onto the couch or fetching their toy from under the couch or table.
Start by asking your dog to down. Remember praise always pays.
Hold your fingers in front of your dog’s nose, and slowly move your hand away from your dog just above the floor encouraging him to follow and saying crawl at the same time. As soon as your dog crawls just a few feet, praise him highly. If the dog stands up immediately stop your hand moving and start again from the beginning.
Try to get your dog to crawl for a slightly longer distance each time. Once he has mastered this you will be able to ask your dog to down when he is at least 10 – 15 feet away, and then get him to crawl towards you or do his work out in the middle of the room.
If you enjoy mountaineering or hiking with your dog, you may come across dangerous terrain or small caves that require him to crawl for his own safety
All dogs should be taught to walk backwards or back up as part of their basic training. It is an extremely useful skill that will come in handy when you need your dog to back away from dangerous items or small animals or get out of a small space.
It will also help him to develop his coordination and footwork. Start by calling your dog to you and commanding him to stay.
Take a few steps backwards, and then give the command “back or back up.” Start walking towards your dog while repeating the command. Some dogs will instinctively back up as you walk towards them. If not, move towards your dog, and gently nudge him back using your legs and body. As soon as your dog takes a step back, praise and reward him enthusiastically.
If your dog attempts to turn around or sit down, try practicing in an enclosed space such as a narrow walkway or between parked cars. Once your dog has learned to walk backwards, try standing a little distance away and ask him to back up to make sure he knows what it means. This will help you greatly when flying or taking Marta or a bus.
Open and close doors
Teaching your dog how to open and close doors is an impressive and useful tool and mandatory for all service dogs. You will need to teach your dog tug. This is when you can start a little game of tug of war. Tell your dog to take it and then when he starts to pull say tug make sure you also tell your dog gently. Then you can take this same item and attach it to a door handle.
You will need to teach your dog to use a rope or tug toy tied to the door to open it rather than jump up at the handle. We can work on round door knobs later this is for drawers, cupboards and doors with lever handles. This will also teach them to open the fridge. Smaller breeds cannot reach door handles, and larger breeds will leave deep scratch marks in your doors if they try to open them excitedly.
Teaching your dog to only open doors that have ropes attached will also prevent him from opening the front or back door unless asked to do so.
Tie a rope or tug toy to the handle of your door, and encourage your dog to tug it. This works better on doors with moving handles. If you have doors with doorknobs that need to be turned, open the door slightly first to allow your dog to tug it fully open.
Once your dog begins to tug the rope, praise him, and encourage him to pull the door completely open. Only give him praise once he has completed opening the door other-wise he will stop and not complete the request. Once he has learned to open the door, you will need to have him learn to close it. So, hold your hand on the door and ask your dog to jump on the door to close it. You can start by working on touch or paws up then add close the door.
Fetch a drink from the fridge
Put your dog to work by teaching him how to fetch you a drink from the fridge. Once your dog has learned how to open doors, training him how to open the fridge is a simple task.
Only teach this if your dog has a certain level of self-control and will not attempt to eat all of the food in your fridge once he gets inside. Make sure he knows the location of the item such as water that you want him to fetch and then always keep it in the same place only encourage him to look there all else is leave it. Attach a rope or tug toy to the door of your fridge. Encourage your dog to tug on it until the door pops open. Reward him immediately. Next, hold your hand against the outside of the open door, and encourage your dog to jump up with his front paws so that the door swings shut.
Spend some time perfecting these steps until your dog can do them with vocal commands only. Place your dog’s favorite toy in the fridge in a place where he can see it clearly. Or go straight to a juice box or water bottle. After he opens the door, show him the toy, juice box or water bottle if he doesn’t see it. Encourage him to take it out carefully and bring it back to you. Once he has got the hang of this step, replace the items but put in the same place with what you need him to fetch for you. This will take time remember you will need to start with item identification first.
Get a Drink from the Fridge another method
Whether it’s water or medication, you can train your service dog to get a drink from the fridge—but be forewarned, this involves quite a bit of work, and is best suited for medium- to large-sized dogs. This is really advanced behavior because there are so many elements to it and everything has to be taught separately. If you have an animal that’s already good with retrieving, that’s going to work in your favor. Make sure you teach your dog to fetch. Once your dog has proven his fetch skills, you have to master opening and closing the fridge. To do this, tie a piece of rope to the door of the fridge and get him to touch it with his nose, providing praise after he does. Once he’s learned to touch the rope, get him to grab it in his mouth and reward him. Then teach him to pull the rope back without dropping it, keep him engaged like a tug of war game. After he learns to open the fridge, teach him to fetch the beverage, using the aforementioned fetch skills. Remember you have to have the item to fetch in the same place each time, so that the drink is the only thing there and therefore easily accessible. Finally, teach him to jump up and push the door closed before bringing you the drink.
Pick up his toys
If you keep your dog’s toys neatly stored in a basket, chances are he will be able to take them out and spread them all over the house without any encouragement.
Getting him to put them back again is a completely different issue. With a little patience and determination, you will eventually be able to teach your dog to clean up after himself.
Sit on the floor with your dog’s toy basket in front of you. Choose one toy, and throw it to the other side of the room. Once your dog chases after it, call him back to you and have your hand hovering over the toy basket, when your dog returns make sure his head is over the toy basket and ask him to drop it. You will need to have work with your dog on take it, hold it, give it, drop it and fetch.
If he drops the toy before returning you need to keep asking him to fetch the toy. It may take a while for your dog to get the hang of this, and it is much easier if he already knows how to fetch, hold it, and drop it.
Once he returns to you with the toy in his mouth, hold your hand directly over the toy box, and command your dog to drop it or name the toy. When he drops it into the box, give him tons or praise. Repeat these steps, and slowly begin to move the toy box away from you. Hold your hand over the box by extending your arm, and work up to simply pointing towards the box