You love your best friend in the entire planet, and you want him or her to be a part of your special day. If you are one of several brides and grooms who consider their dog to be their little “fur baby”, then you may be thinking about having your dog be the ring bearer at your wedding. This is a particularly popular idea if you do not have any little boys or girls in attendance at your wedding.
But there may be a problem. Having a dog as a ring bearer is not the easiest task on the planet. If you do not have the most obedient dog that you know will obey your every command, having your dog as a ring barrier can possibly be the biggest mistake that you have ever made. To train your dog to become a ring bearer, you need:
- A leash
- A lot of patience
Where to Start
If your dog already knows the command “come”, then this is great foundation to work on. If your dog doesn’t know the command “come”, or isn’t the fastest pooch at coming when called, it’s time to bone up on his skills. A great way to start is to pack your pocket with treats. If your dog knows the sit-stay command, attach the leash to his collar. Place him in a “sit-stay” and, with the leash in hand, take three steps back. Wait five seconds, and then say, “Come!” in an excited voice. Give your dog a slight tug on the leash and introduce a hand command. The hand command does not have to be obvious; in time, even a flick of the eyes can train your dog to come. Think about moving your fingers in a slight way by your side or lightly patting your thigh. Once your dog comes and sits, present the treat. He will come running straight to you (or the treat) and place him into a sit. Once he has sat down, give him the treat and praise him.
This process may take any where from 1 day to 2 weeks to perfect, depending on the nature of your dog. Gradually introduce tying the rings to your dog’s collar too, whether they are attached by a ribbon, a small satchel, or a tiny box.
Testing your Dog
When your dog seems to be getting the hang of things, it’s time to start using the “come” command (both verbal and hand signal) off leash, but in a quiet area. Place your dog into a sit-stay and take the leash off of the collar. Take several steps back, and then call your dog. Have him sit, and then praise him and present the treat.
As your dog becomes more comfortable being off leash, now it’s time to really test him – use the command in a busy, public place. Remember, your wedding is going to be full of strangers who are new and exciting to your dog. It’s important to put him around other new and usual people to see if he will be able to perform in the same manner. A great place to test this is to visit a busy park and to follow the same process as above. If you are a bit apprehensive at first, you can start with keeping your dog on the leash again when you call him to come until you and your dog feel comfortable. Once you complete this training, your dog will be the perfect lady or gentleman as they deliver the rings to you on your special day.