Obedience Training for Dogs

Your human is an intelligent creature, and can easily be trained to provide treats and amusement by incorporating your training into the daily habits and rituals that all humans naturally crave. For example, leaving a toy or dish in a familiar location will teach your human to play with or feed you on a structured schedule.


Via anΒ ImgurΒ user who notes: “Everyday she quietly places her toy in my slippers so that when I get up from the computer to put my slippers on, I will not forget to put a treat inside.”

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51 thoughts on “Obedience Training for Dogs

  1. allein 🐾 July 21, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    That is adorable.

    When Pablo was living with my parents, one night my mom put his bowl up on the footrest of the armchair so he could sit with her while he ate his dinner. The next night he came over and put his paws up on her leg as if he wanted to sit with her. She picked him up, and he got right back down, went into the kitchen, pawed at his dish (which was a heavy ceramic dish with a wide lip that I got because he used to flip his plastic dish and send his food skittering all over the place), making it fall back down and thump against the floor, then came back and put his paws on her leg again. She picked him up again, he got down, thumped his dish, and came back to her. Took her three rounds to figure out what he wanted. For the rest of the time he lived with them, he had his dinner on the chair nearly every night.

    They are definitely training us.

    • Julie July 21, 2016 / 4:23 pm

      There is nothing better than a smart, food motivated Chihuahua!!!

      • Duckie July 21, 2016 / 4:31 pm

        What about two of them?

      • allein 🐾 July 21, 2016 / 4:45 pm

        My ex originally had just a small rubbermaid dish for his food. Every time it was refilled, he would slap his paw down on the little handle on one end and flip it upside-down (I think maybe he liked the noise on the wood floor…it did sound kind of cool, except for the fact that it meant we’d have to clean it up). I’m surprised he didn’t have bugs in that place. For Christmas I got him a new bed (he just had a towel on the floor since he slept with us at night, but I decided he needed something comfy for when he was home alone), a blanket (after I was getting ready to leave one winter morning and saw him go over and huddle against the heater; I’m sure he was just trying to make me feel guilty), and a matching set of food and water bowls. For the food bowl I was purposely looking for something he couldn’t flip. The most he could do was tip it on its side, but it would just fall back to upright.

        But oh, how he tried to flip that thing.

        • 6rabbits July 22, 2016 / 11:02 am

          Was very tired when I read this last night, Allein, and somehow got confused with the personal pronouns. For a second I thought you were referring to your EX at this point: “For Christmas I got him a new bed…” and only realized it was the DOG when I got to, “…and a matching set of food and water bowls.”πŸ˜‚

          • allein 🐾 July 22, 2016 / 11:15 am


            There were some days I would have liked to have made the ex sleep in the dog bed!

  2. birdcage July 21, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    Merlin (my parrot) has learned that if he wants attention from me, all he needs to do is walk across the floor and stand on the toe of my house shoes as I work at the kitchen counter (or as I’m folding in the laundry room, or as I sit in front of the TV, etc.) I usually stop whatever I’m doing to pick him up off my toe for a cuddle.

    One day a few weeks ago, Merlin went missing in the house and I searched everywhere for him. Eventually found him in the bedroom upstairs. He had crawled up the staircase, walked down a long hall and was standing patiently on the toe of my house shoes beside the bed (which I had failed to put on my feet that particular morning).

    Wonder how long he would have stood there, waiting for me to come and pick him up. He seemed put out that it had taken me that long to find him.

    • dubravkamcvmd July 21, 2016 / 5:25 pm

      That’s fascinating. Merlin’s analysis stopped at what he did to get the cuddle. He did not take context into account at all.

      • Faye July 21, 2016 / 11:05 pm

        Slipper=reward! So? Where’s my reward?

    • 6rabbits July 22, 2016 / 11:05 am

      Does Merlin not fly? I can just imagine how disgruntled he was, waiting so long, muttering about clueless humans!

      • birdcage July 22, 2016 / 11:58 am

        Merlin’s wings are not clipped, so he’s certainly free to fly around the house when he wants to go somewhere, and he does fly from place to place when he’s moved to do so. But my house is not big and it is hard for him to maneuver around the corners and through the doorways while in flight. And take-offs / landings are challenging when he has obstacles (like furniture) to contend with, and an absence of straightaways to utilize. So he often elects to walk where he needs to go.

  3. Faye July 21, 2016 / 4:58 pm

    Who’s a good human? Atta human! You can do it! That’s my human! Look at em go! Treat? Who wants a treat? Etc.

    They have it down pat, evidently.

  4. Murray C. July 21, 2016 / 5:15 pm

    I dearly love each of these aw-w-w-w- inspiring stories!

    • debg July 21, 2016 / 5:56 pm

      I’m with you, Murray. My cats have trained me like nobody’s business.

  5. Madame X July 21, 2016 / 6:41 pm

    When my sister and I were teens, we had a miniature poodle named Jean Paul (and quite a dashing fellow he was, I should add). Anyhow, Jean P was devoted to my sister and jealous of any boy who’d come visit her: if she was sitting on the sofa, he’d jump to sit between her and the guy; if the guy got too close, Jean P would make this sort of low, menacing noise (he never bit anyone – it was just this low, deep growl).

    And exactly at 10pm, he’d start barking and walking between wherever she was and the door to her room, to indicate it was time for her to send her gentleman caller packing and hie off to bed. And as soon as the dog started barking, my dad would “stroll casually” to the living room “to check what that ruckus was all about.”

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think my Dad trained that little dog behind our backs…

    • Julie July 21, 2016 / 10:42 pm

      Too funny!!

    • Faye July 21, 2016 / 11:16 pm

      If I spend too much time away from my bedroom yakking to people in the living room my cat, Dorothy, sneaks up on me and bites me on the ankle, hard! Then she herds me down the hall to my door. It works. I don’t want her to bite me again. I’m pretty smart for a human.
      Wait!? Maybe not? Hmmmmm.

      • Murray C. July 21, 2016 / 11:33 pm

        Faye, I love that your cat is named Dorothy.😽

        • Faye July 22, 2016 / 11:30 am

          The little girl in my house named her Dorothy before I moved in. She picked a good name and Dorothy answers to it immediately.

      • Sumo-Mermaid July 22, 2016 / 12:10 pm

        I think most of the dogs I’ve cared for are (or have been) owned by single people because, when I talk on the phone, they seem to believe I’m talking to them. After all, they don’t see anyone else around.

  6. Margaret July 21, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    I had a cat that figured out that when the alarm went off, I got up and fed her.

    So she decided to turn the alarm on one morning so that I’d feed her. It was 3am on a Sunday morning!

    Needless to say the alarm got moved to a place where she couldn’t sit on it and do it again!

    • Murray C. July 21, 2016 / 9:05 pm

      Wow, that’s one smart pussy cat.πŸ™€

  7. Em July 21, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    There are a few birds outside which watch my comings and goings, and movement within the house. They know that when I walk into the kitchen, they can fly to the window sill and I’ll throw some seeds out for them. We have a mutual friend the squirrel who gets less food from me, and the routine is to put both front paws up against the glass, and look longingly into the kitchen. I noticed that on the day of our July 4th block party, we were all different. A dog walked into my house and went to the refrigerator and asked for a treat. A cat who was adopted 9 years ago on July 4th let me pet him for the first time.

  8. D B July 21, 2016 / 10:54 pm

    I just read an interesting variation of this kind of thing on the NPR site, but I don’t know how to post a link, sorry. If you search for NPR + honeyguide, it looks like people have been working for (and with) animals for a long time!

      • D B July 21, 2016 / 11:16 pm

        That’s it, thanks! And thanks for the link info; still getting used to the tablet….

        • Not That Mike The Other Mike July 21, 2016 / 11:29 pm

          Yeah, tablets are trickier. Keyboard commands aren’t available, so you have to work out how your tablet’s system wants you to do it instead.

          • allein July 21, 2016 / 11:37 pm

            On mine (Samsung/android) I tap the Web address to highlight it, then press it for a second or two until cut/copy/paste options appear and tap copy. Then press in the comment box for a second and paste will pop up, then just tap paste. Just need to make sure you press down and don’t drag across the screen.

      • Murray C. July 21, 2016 / 11:30 pm

        This is so fabulous! The world is magical.

        • Faye July 22, 2016 / 11:32 am

          I saved this on FB. Will read. πŸ˜€

    • allein July 21, 2016 / 11:06 pm

      That’s really neat!

    • 6rabbits July 21, 2016 / 11:42 pm

      Totally cool article. Good example of how scientists’ research findings lead to new questions and even more research. Saving to use with my students.πŸ˜€

      • Em July 22, 2016 / 12:06 am

        6Rabbits, If you’re thinking of using it to teach science, there are some videos of this interaction that might interest your students. This is a brief one on the honey glide, the honey badger and honey loving humans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVtSYRmlirg

        • Em July 22, 2016 / 12:27 am

          meant honey guide! Sorry about that.

        • debg July 22, 2016 / 9:54 am

          Honey badger! Honey badger don’t care!

          • allein 🐾 July 22, 2016 / 9:56 am

            I have that book on my shelf at work. πŸ˜›

        • 6rabbits July 22, 2016 / 10:54 am

          Thank you, Em! I have the video bookmarked now.πŸ˜€

    • Em July 21, 2016 / 11:52 pm

      DB, Love the link! Thank you Mike for posting it. This experience with my birds arose years ago, and interestingly, they have taught their young about getting my attention and waiting by the window. There is lots of mutual learning going on, and I’m sure they think at times I’m a very slow learner. Not too long ago, I realized they understand rather complex intention as well. A cat came by, and I made a noise shoo it away, but the bird knew that I was not intending to scare her off, she stayed–the cat left.

  9. Janie4 July 22, 2016 / 9:43 am

    So we started out with my mom’s bullmsatiff by putting a treat down in the back seat of the car, saying target, and having him get in. It was to reinforce the idea he came to my mom’s hand when she said target. We didn’t stop the treat soon enough. We realized that when he waited patiently by the car for minutes while we said target, until we found a treat and threw it in, and then he would quickly enter. He also trained us to always leave the passenger seat forward so he could have more leg room.

    My cat kept taking his collar off until I realized he wanted the bell gone. And when I finally stopped bringing them in at night, I swear that cat, Sam, gave the others a look saying “See, I knew if we kept working with her, she’d get it eventually.”

    • Transentence July 22, 2016 / 1:48 pm

      Our cat ditched her collar somewhere in the backyard and we couldn’t find it, so we replaced it. The new collar had a higher-pitched, more annoying jingle bell than her original collar. So she went back into the backyard, found the collar, and carried it back to us.

        • Murray C. July 22, 2016 / 6:17 pm

          Our cat did that once – came back after a foray sans collar and later in the day trotted back with it in her mouth. Party darned cute.

  10. Haha July 22, 2016 / 10:51 am

    I love all these stories! Thanks all for sharing and helping NTMTOM give me a happy place to visit!

    • Julie July 22, 2016 / 2:48 pm

      Me too! I LOVE animal stories!

  11. Faye July 22, 2016 / 3:29 pm

    We had a miniature poodle when I was a kid. Then we got a kitten. My dad thought it would be funny to make the kitten go along on a dog walk. While I walked slowly with the dog on a leash my dad walked behind the kitten coaxing it along to keep up. It walked along with the two humans and the dog. Ha ha.

    We didn’t realize what we had done until the next walk when I started off and the kitten came to the door and followed the dog outside. The kitten then proceeded to walk along the whole way. But it also COMPLAINED the entire time.

    This went on every walk. One night it was raining heavily. My mom put on her raincoat and went out with the dog leaving the cat to stay dry. I came along and found the cat crying loudly at the front door. The cat was frantic. So I opened the door and the cat shot out!

    I will never ever forget seeing the cat racing as fast as it could go across our lawn in the rain trying to catch up with my mother and the dog. It was calling to my mother so loud I could here it over the rain.

    That darn cat had been given a job and darn if he wasn’t going to stick with it. Lol.

    Cat’s name: Pussywillow!

    • Gigi_the cat lady July 22, 2016 / 5:54 pm

      The cat probably thought that your mom and the dog would get lost without him. LOL!

      • Faye July 22, 2016 / 7:02 pm

        Like a guide cat! Never thought of that.

    • Murray C. July 22, 2016 / 6:18 pm


  12. Patty July 22, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    My cat used to go on walks with me and the dog. He started doing it on his own. We live on a busy street, the sidewalk was too close to the traffic, so he’d walk in the neighbor’s yard until we got around the corner to the less busy street. Then he’d join us on the sidewalk. People thought it was hilarious that I walked the cat and the dog, and even asked me how I trained the cat to follow us.

    • Kar July 23, 2016 / 12:12 am


      My old cat used to do the same thing. I think she was more interested in walking with the dog than us.


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