For best results start your training when your dog is very young. After your dog has become accustomed to retrieving sticks and tennis balls you might try hurling an old keyboard once in a while. When your dog brings your keyboard back to you, scratch your pooch behind his ear while saying, "Good dog. Thatta boy. Good dog."
Place the keyboard at your feet and encourage your dog to randomly paw keys on the keyboard. Lavish praise on your pooch when he hits keys that are close to the keys you use to retrieve your mail.
Reward your dog with tasty treats only when he starts showing an interest in how your email program works. Golden retrievers are naturally intelligent dogs. If they see you sitting at the computer they are bound to become curious about what steps you take to retrieve your email.
Then one day when your dog is very comfortable at pawing your keyboard and has familiarized himself with all the keystrokes you use to retrieve your mail, say in a friendly frisky voice: "Go get email. That's a good dog. Go fetch email."
You might be surprised to see how easily your dog will retrieve your email. But don't forget that golden retrievers were bred to do this sort of thing. It's one of their instincts to log on, grab all new messages, and log off.
Once your golden retriever masters the process of retrieving your email, this activity will be one more way for you to bond with your dog. Don't be surprised if your dog bounds onto your bed early in the morning begging you to switch on the computer so it can retrieve email.
That's the point you will know to give your dog his own email account. That way you can sleep later in the morning while your pooch is enthusiastically bounding around retrieving email on his own.
(Freely copyable and reprintable for noncommercial purposes. Commercial reprinting allowed with written permission. The author is a Washington DC-based consultant and freelance everything.)
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