Written by Eric Rogers for howtodothings.com
Owning a dog is a richly rewarding experience that improves the quality of one’s life in many fun ways. Dogs are tried and true companions… they encourage us to spend more time outdoors getting sun and exercise… they sleep at the foot of the bed, providing warmth on chilly winter nights… and if properly trained, they can be the best bartender you’ll never have to pay. In fact, you can train your dog to do lots of cool tricks; once he’s mastered getting his master a beer, you can learn how to train your dog in basic obedience and other fun tricks with the excellent Dove Creswell’s Dog Training Online.
That’s right, YOU can train your pooch to fetch beers from your refrigerator in just a few easy steps. So whether you’re watching the big game, taking the edge off a busy day, or simply attempting to enter the Guinness Book of Records as “World’s Biggest Couch Potato”, Man’s Best Friend can help ensure you never have to move a muscle to keep the suds flowing:
- Large Breeds Wanted. It should go without saying that your dog should be big enough to hold a beer can in its mouth, but we’ll say it anyway.
- On the off-chance you happen to own a small dog that can hold cans in its jowls, then forget this mom-and-pop exercise – there’s a circus somewhere that Sparky has escaped from.
- Can It! Okay, so we’ve established your dog has a big mouth – good. Now we all know bottled beer is the tastier option, but you’re only asking for trouble if you rely on your hairy mate to wrap its teeth around a glass bottleneck. The glass can hurt your dog’s teeth, but equally important is that there will be many a dropped bottle on your floor while Sparky learns how to do this trick, so use beer cans only. Also, place the cans inside of a foam protector (commonly referred to as “stubbies” or “koozies”) to keep your dog’s teeth from sinking into the can’s aluminum body as he learns to gently hold a can in his mouth.
- “Take It” to the Limit. Now’s the time to teach your dog to retrieve your beer and bring it to you. This is a two-part exercise. First, practice commanding your dog to take the stubbie-encased can with a simple phrase, such as “Take It.”Your command phrase must be one that you have never used for any other command because you want your dog to associate grabbing the can with this phrase only. Also, have treats on hand to entice the dog into taking the can. Greenies, dog biscuits, and cut-up hot dogs are sure-fire favorites, but my dog also performs well when he knows there’s cheese, pizza crust, French fries, or Vegemite on toast waiting as his reward – go figure.
Now you’re ready for Part Two of the exercise: teaching Sparky to grab the beer can from inside an open refrigerator. Using your fetch-specific command phrase, order your dog to take the beer, rewarding success as always. Once Sparky is used to sticking his snout inside the ol’ ice box, you’re ready for the trickiest part of the training…
- Rag-(or Rope) Time. Unless you’re a connoisseur of warm beer, you’ll want to teach Sparky how to open the refrigerator door so he can retrieve you a COLD beer can from inside. This is best achieved by using a rag or rope.First, train your dog to tug at the rag in your hand as if you are playing. Use a rag that the dog has never played with before so she understands that it will be used SPECIFICALLY for this task.
Once your dog understands the tug game, tie the rag to the handle of your refrigerator and encourage the dog to take the rag (you might need to grease the wheels here and hold the rag out for your dog to take). Once the dog takes the rag, encourage it even more to pull hard until the door opens. REWARD your dog again for a job well done. Before long, Sparky will understand that opening your fridge results in another yummy treat and he’ll happily do your bidding.
Now that your dog understands where the beer is and how to get it, here are a couple of extra tips to keep in mind while Sparky gets this trick right…
- All Wet. As super smart as your dog might be, he WILL NOT learn this trick in a few minutes, hours, or even days. It will take lots of practice, repetition, patience, and – unless you love the smell and look of beer-stained carpet – a large, easily-cleaned area to practice over, such as hardwood, concrete, or tile.
Your dog will drop many beers before nailing this trick, which leads to our next handy tip…
- Go Cheap… At least for now. Don’t waste money on the beer you REALLY like to drink until your four-legged pal has mastered fetching because most of it will hit the floor before it hits your mouth.Only AFTER Sparky perfects this trick should you splurge on the good stuff. And splurge you should — don’t insult all of your dog’s hard work by having it bring you a sixer of Schlitz. You’re living in the high life of being the world’s laziest man now: drink a beer that reflects it.
Once you and your pooch master these steps, you’ll be living out your very own Miller Lite commercial and will be the envy of all of your slacker friends. But remember that it takes tremendous patience, repetition, and focus to get this trick right, so don’t give up — either of you! — and you’ll both be handsomely rewarded for a job well done!
And for those of you reading this article, wishing you had a dog (or wishing you had a dog that would obey your “fetch me a beer” command)…you’re in luck! This guy made a fridge that tosses you a beer from across the room. No dog necessary.