Train your dog to check the mail

A golden retriever brings his owner the mail every day in this viral video. Here's some tips about how to help your kids train your family dog.

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  • Didn't that viral video just warm your heart? Dogs like this golden retriever can bring a lot of joy into a home by showering the family with love. Greeting the kids from school with kisses, playing fetch and tug of war, and even learning a few tricks are some of the ways dogs can provide love in the home.

  • Trained dogs aren't bored because they know tricks to entertain them. This can eliminate a lot of destructive behavior that comes with untrained dogs. When a dog is trained to be obedient, first he learns the importance of listening to his owner, but he also picks up some fun tricks along the way.

  • Teaching a dog new tricks is a great activity for kids who want to bond with their canine friends, but before you can teach the dog to check the mail or even shine your shoes, which has also been known to happen on Youtube, you have to start with the basics.

  • That's my name, can't wear it out

  • First, teach your dog her name. When choosing a name, try to pick one that's short and catchy. Names with two syllables like "Pepper" or "Lola" are much easier for dogs to learn than a long, confusing name. There are several resources on the internet for dog name ideas. After picking the perfect name for your pooch, make sure everyone in the family calls her by that same name so the dog can get used to responding to it.

  • First thing's first

  • The first trick to teach dogs is to sit, since this is the basis for several other tricks. If you want your kids to train the dog, every time they tell the dog to sit, make sure they do a hand signal, like a snap or point, and say the word "sit" in the same tone of voice each time. After the dog follows the order, make sure your kids praise him with love and treats. That way, the dog will mentally associate the hand signal and the word "sit" with the actual act of sitting (and getting a little love afterwards).

  • Doggone it!

  • If your animal has a hard time learning to sit, don't let your kids get frustrated or give up! Your dog wants to make you happy, but it takes some hard work to learn discipline. No matter what, don't ever hit your dog. That will discourage her from wanting to try the tricks again, not to mention that it's inhumane. Help her understand by gently putting her into the sit position while saying, "sit," and then rewarding her. After some treats, she will make the connection. Don't give up!

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  • Beyond basics

  • Once your dog masters sitting, the other tricks will seem to come more easily! Your family can teach the dog to stay, heel, speak, play dead, give a high five or any other trick you can dream up. Your kids will absolutely love showing off their pride and joy and the bond between the pup and your little ones will grow.

  • Super-dog to the rescue

  • Hide and go seek. Say prayers. Dust the apartment. These tricks and many, many more are possible once your pup reaches "super-dog" status. If your dog is quickly picking up the training you've given him, you might want to take it to the next level. Doggie Buddy, a dog training website, gives excellent advice about training your dog with a clicker. Using a small clicking device, you can train your dog to go above and beyond with his tricks.

  • Practice makes perfect

  • After your dog tosses his training graduation cap, don't forget to keep reviewing his tricks with him. It's easy for a dog to forget some of the tricks he's learned, so let him show off whenever you get a chance. It will make him happy to know that you're proud of him. Plus, what dog doesn't want some extra treats?

  • Follow these steps, and your dog will start cheering up your mailman - instead of chasing him down the street. Share this article with animal lovers you know to inspire them to train their favorite family dog.

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Alysa Kleinman is a journalism student and an intern at Deseret Digital Media. 

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