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Teach Your Dog To "Get Your Bone"

Picking up objects on command.

This exercise teaches your dog to search for a special chew toy,  find it, and lie down and chew on it for a length of time. "Get  your bone" can help prevent or minimize destructive chewing,  digging, excessive barking, licking, and/or pestering people for attention.

The result of this exercise is appropriate chewing, and an outlet for stress or anxiety rather than engaging in  destructive behaviors. The dog learns what you want it to chew and earns the reward associated with your presence and praise.

Chewing is a normal, natural canine behavior. It is an enjoyable  pastime for many dogs. Dogs chew because they are bored, they have lots of energy or they’re curious. Dogs don’t instinctively choose chew toys over rugs, furniture, shoes or other household items.  They need to be taught what is okay to chew on and what is not.


Dog Carrying Shopping Bag

How to teach "get your bone":

Start by searching with the dog while you excitedly command "get  your bone!"

Once found, if the dog doesn’t readily pick up the  chew toy, gently offer it and encourage the dog to take it in its  mouth.

Praise the dog excitedly for taking it. Praise the dog excitedly and repeat the command while the dog  holds the toy in its mouth: "Good dog! Get your bone! Good dog!".

For the next two weeks, the "bone" becomes the dog’s reward for  your attention. If the dog drops the toy, walk away and ignore the dog for a few minutes.

Then repeat steps A and B.

Praise the dog  when you practice "get your bone" and if it has the chew toy in  its mouth.

Otherwise, ignore it.

Turn it into a fun game.

Play games to excite your dog’s interest in the chew toy. Toss the toy and praise the dog for approaching it.

Try calmly holding one end of the toy while the dog chews on the other end. (Avoid  playing tug-of-war.)

Excitedly point at the toy from a distance  and run to the bone with your dog, excitedly commanding "Get your  bone!"

Once your dog reliably gets the toy on command, use it to earn  your praise and attention. Ask your dog to "get your bone" before  being petted, being allowed to come indoors, being fed, being  allowed on your lap, etc.

If your dog is pestering you or your  guests for attention, command your dog to "get your bone" and  praise while he lies down and chews on the toy.

Eventually, direct your dog to "get your bone" a few minutes  before you leave the house and insist the dog "get your bone" to  earn your greeting when you return home.

It is then likely that  your dog will chew on the toy rather than your furniture or other  household items when it gets the urge to chew in your absence.

Labrador Holding Stick.

Turn it into a "hide and seek" game...

Puppy peeking around a tree

For added fun, make a hide-and-seek game out of "get your bone". 

  • Command the dog to stay.
  • You hide the chew toy.
  • Then tell the dog, "okay, get your bone".
  • Praise your dog for finding it.


Would you like this lesson in a text format for your phone email?