I taught Bella to drop a ball or toy into a box. Good for her.

I did not teach her to drop it into HER box.
Now she's not only dropping the ball into the recycling box, but she's digging in the box, upending it, etc. Very amusing for her. Not so much for me. It's ok if she does that to her toy box, but of course I'd prefer she didn't. She can't right the box after she knocks it over & empties it. I don't mind righting her box, however.

When I ask her to take something, she just looks at me. She knows what "take" means, but i guess I have to retrain that, too.

So I'm taking her toys, dropping them into her box (with tiny treats) and repeating "put it away."
What should I do to get this right?
montana wildhack,
I do not know how to solve your problem but I would suggest using one word commands.
IMHO, instead of "put it away", how about just "away"? Dogs only have so much room for a volcabulary. Of course they will recognize phrases but using one word is much easier for the dog. Remember, we are not training the dog, they are training us. We have to figure out what they want us to say / tell them. Just an opinion that I utilize with great success. Good Luck,
Steve in Michigan
Remember, we are not training the dog, they are training us. We have to figure out what they want us to say / tell them.

Yes, this is true.
Bella was doing very well dropping stuff into a box, but as I mentioned, it was the wrong box and I failed to see where she would take it.
That one word command is a good suggestion.
So I'm back to the beginning. I think I'll do what you suggest & start back with dropping her toys and tiny treats into her box with the "away" command.
I wonder if I should get a box that isn't cardboard, because she now seems to think that any cardboard box is a good place to drop her stuff. It's funny, she doesn't usually generalize so broadly.

I thought some other who post here have taught this, but no-one is biting!
That one word command is a good suggestion.

Meh. Obviously you don't want to get into a situation where you've got a "Hey, go get the woobie" command and a "Hey, go get the chewie" command, but I haven't found multi-word commands to generally be a problem (well-trained sleddog teams know "come gee" and "come haw") and tricks for entertainment value often depend on multi-word commands, particularly when the joke is specifically about the words. For example, one of the easiest things in the world to teach is "What's on the wall?" and have the dog turns its head and appears to be looking at the wall - I guarantee that "wall?" would not be as entertaining and that the full question is no more confusing than the one word.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community.
I guarantee that "wall?" would not be as entertaining and that the full question is no more confusing than the one word.

In your example, the dog knows that "wall" is the trigger word for a behavior. The other words that are not associated with the behavior trigger are to be unweighted.
In your example, the dog knows that "wall" is the trigger word for a behavior.

No, he doesn't. I've also tried "what's on the tree?" and "what's on the ?" to see what's triggering the behavior, and they both result in the same behavior as "what's on the wall?" I believe that they could learn the difference, but for now the rhythm and tone are the trigger.
In "come gee" and "come haw" (which not all of them know) you've got a more complex situation - "gee/haw" mean "turn right/left," and "come gee/haw" mean "do a right/left 180," so clearly neither "come" nor "gee/haw" is the trigger word. In fact, I don't think dogs hear words as individual semantic units at all, at least they don't seem to me to behave as if they parse.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community.
In your example, the dog knows that "wall" is the trigger word for a behavior.

No, he doesn't. I've also tried "what's on the tree?" and "what's on the ?" to see what's triggering ... the wall?" I believe that they could learn the difference, but for now the rhythm and tone are the trigger.

I guessed the trigger improperly, but "what's on" is a short command. The next command is also short; "the tree," "the wall," etc.
In "come gee" and "come haw" (which not all of them know) you've got a more complex situation - "gee/haw" mean "turn right/left," and "come gee/haw" mean "do a right/left 180," so clearly neither "come" nor "gee/haw" is the trigger word.

That's what I suspected in my reply.
In fact, I don't think dogs hear words as individual semantic units at all, at least they don't seem to me to behave as if they parse.

But they do parse: when I say "get the ball" or "get the toy" because "get the" means one thing but the next part is different.
But they do parse: when I say "get the ball" or "get the toy" because "get the" means one thing but the next part is different.

I guess I'm not convinced that they're not hearing "getthetoy" and "gettheball."
At any rate, I can see some value in using one-word (or probably more to the point, one-syllable) commands. Being able to get something out quickly and concisely is a good thing. However, that doesn't mean that dogs can't deal with lexicographically longer stuff.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community.