Did You Know You Can Train Your Dogs to Turn Lights on and Off?


Dogs are sincerely some very cool animals, and they are very intuitive. You can teach them just about anything, which is actually part of the reason people love them so much. These are animals that really do have a significant ability to learn and to understand what you need, what you want and what is expected of them. You can teach them to use the bathroom outdoors, to stay off furniture, to listen to what you have to say and even to be quiet when you need them to hush. You can even teach them basic manners such as shaking hands with people. It’s really cool what a dog is capable of learning, and teaching a dog new tricks is half the reason that people own them. And we are just really in disagreement with people who says that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. While it’s true you can teach a younger dog more efficiently and with ease since it’s not set in its ways (think about how hard and long you worked to teach your mom to use her smart phone and send text messages and take photos compared to the 30 seconds it took your 1-year-old to figure out your iTunes password and purchase a bunch of new games for download), old dogs can learn new tricks.

With that in mind, you are going to think it’s supremely cool how simple it is to teach your dogs to do things like turn lights on and off. I mean, it’s so simple you won’t believe it took you this long to do it. In a world in which utilities are so expensive and saving is always nice, why not teach the dog to shut the lights off when he or she is exiting a room? Or how about teaching your dog to turn the lights on when the house is dark and you’re not home yet? Aside from giving you a chance to walk into a home that has proper lighting late at night, it’s also a great way to deter criminals from coming and going. So if you’re interested in teaching your animals to turn lights on and off, let us help you out a bit with some simple instructions.

Get some Sticky Notes

You’re going to teach your canine companion to touch things using a sticky note. It’s simple trick that’s a lot like teaching the dog to shake the hand of another person. What you’re going to do is teach your dog to touch using sticky notes on your hand. Put the sticky note on your hand and help the dog learn the phrase, “Touch” so that it understands what you want it to do. Now teach the dog to touch your hand when it sees the note.

Once your dog has that little trick down pat, move the note to other things so that the dog understands that it’s the note that you want used in the trick. You can put it on the coffee table, the wall by the door or the floor; wherever you want to put the note. Once there, you will then go ahead and teach your dog to touch the note there, too.

Put Notes on Doors

Now you are ready to teach your dog to start touching things and shutting them. The best way to do this is to place your sticky notes on cabinet drawers or doors in the kitchen. For example, you might choose to put a sticky note on a door when you are in the middle of doing dishes. The trick here is to get your dog to touch the door where the note is located. But the trick is to get him to push it shut. Chances are good that your dog is going to touch the note softly and not shut the door or drawer. You want to get him to shut it by showing him repeatedly how to do this. Once he actually touches and shuts the object, you will reward him. Only reward him when he is able to shut things. This is how you teach him that the note means touch and close, rather than just touch.

It might take some practice to get your dog to do this, but he will be able to do it very easily once the concept is understood. While you teach the dog to push the doors, you’re going to give the act a term, such as push or shut or close or something. You will need to repeat this all the time so that your dog will learn to recognize the term. Otherwise, you’re going to find that your dog is happy to close anything that has a sticky note on it, but you don’t want those on everything you own so it’s not really all that effective.

Work on the Lights

Now that your dog gets the concept, you need to teach it to do the same with the light switches. You can use the same concept with the switches, but now that your dog understands the concept, it’s just about teaching the dog how to manipulate the light switch. Depending on his or her height, you might need to place a stool in front of the switch or just let the dog use his or her nose. Once your dog understands that this is something you want pushed to shut off lights, he or she is going to push the switch anytime you give the command – or leave a sticky note there for him or her to find.

The more you practice with your dog, the easier it will become. You can even take things further, such as to teach a dog to turn off the light anytime it exits a room if it turns it on or if it sees that it’s already on. Now that your dog is an energy-saving genius, your life is pretty much complete and totally awesome. Good luck with this endeavor into doggie genius.

Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images


  1. Derek Blair April 30, 2015
    • Pam Dworshak May 1, 2015

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