Dog News

Owner Teaches Dog to Recycle Trash


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You’ve got your basic dog tricks: sit, stay, paw and roll over. But what if those got too easy?

“I thought, ‘Gee maybe we could do something else?’ ” Keith Sanderson said after his Labrador, Max, got tired of the basic game of fetch.

“He’s wired to be a retriever, so why not make him be a retriever,” the Deerfield resident said, noting that he had to take into account his suburban surroundings. “There’s no pheasants or ducks around, so we did bottles.”

During training, Sanderson switched a normal ball with a bottle; it didn’t take long for Max to catch on to his owner’s objective. Now, the duo sets off every morning searching for trash.

“The old trite saying that every litter bit hurts is really true,” Sanderson said. “We have a 40-gallon trash can full of cans and bottles that it took us less than a week to fill.” That garbage is then transferred to a recycling bin.

Max was originally adopted from Orphans of the Storm, an animal shelter in Riverwoods. Sanderson and his wife took one look at then 6-month-old puppy and couldn’t resist taking him home.

Four years later, Sanderson knew Max would adapt well to the new trick.

“Part of this recycling is that Max is recycled,” Sanderson explained. “So recycling is sort of a theme with him–to remind people, lets not throw away things when there’s a lot of use left in them.”

Many thanks to Patch editor Natalie Kaplan for contributing this piece.