Another useful trick. When your dog brings you his dish, not only does it make him look smart but it saves you the effort of having to get it. How does your dog tell you he's hungry? Pawing at his dish, knocking it over, barking? Here's a simple and cute way for your dog to let you know that he needs to be fed.
Step 1: Use the "Learn the Names of Everything" (Trick #13) to teach him to touch his dish on command. Step 2: Teach him to hold the dish in his mouth using the "take it" command (Trick #11). Your dog may not like holding a metal dish in his mouth, but this trick is worth the extra effort. Take extra time with this step. Step 3: With the dish on the floor say the name "dish." When he starts to touch the dish say "take it." If he takes the dish in his mouth at all click and treat. Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times in multiple training sessions. Step 5: With your dog holding the dish in his mouth say "bring it." Click and treat when he takes a few steps toward you with the dish. Step 6: As you repeat step 3 introduce the command "get your dish." When he takes it, click and treat. Step 7: Repeat step 6 in several sessions. Step 8: Give the command "get your dish." Click and treat when he brings it to you. Gradually extend the distance from the bowl as you perfect this trick.
Teaching "Dish" wasn't too hard once I taught Caspian to learn its name. I first had him touch the dish, eventually teaching him that its name was "Dish." The next step was getting him to pick it up. This was more difficult because his dish is heavier than other objects we have trained with before. I clicked and treated for small advances towards the behavior I wanted. Eventually, he was able to carry it completely in his mouth. I then told him to "Bring it" to me. Since he knew these commands already, it wasn't very hard to string them together into this nice trick — "Get your dish."
What if my dog's dish is too heavy for him? Your dog will most likely be able to carry it. It could be that he's just not used to carrying something that bulky and heavy before. It's a good idea to start out small and click and treat for small advances toward the dish. You could even build up to this trick by having him learn to take lighter things in his mouth, then gradually teaching heavier things until he is able to hold the dish. Of course, if you have a small dog, it metal dish might be too bulky for him to pick up. You can try using a smaller dish. Another idea is to teach "Fetch a Drink" first to get him gradually used to carrying heavier things in his mouth by filling up the drink bottle a little at a time.
Tip: "After several training sessions, your dog may eventually bring his dish to you to tell you he's hungry!"