I was teaching Roscoe to fetch the mail before we moved to Hope, and now we have no mailman, and no mail slot. I think he was doing pretty good, getting him to this point took just a few steps. If your dog already loves to retrieve, you could teach them this trick inside of week, training just a few minutes a day.
Teach Your Dog To Fetch Mail
Start by teaching your dog to retrieve folded, empty envelopes from a carpeted floor or from your hand. Paper is difficult for dogs to pick up if it is laying flat on a hard surface. It takes some practice for dogs to learn to push items against their toes or rugs, or to use their teeth and lips to curl up edges and gain traction. Once your dog is used to picking up paper, try having them retrieve it on the edge of a carpet, then near to the carpet but on a hard surface.
Next, practice retrieving envelopes from a table, let them hang over the edge of a low table, stool or chair to start. Put the table or chair near the mail slot and practice a rep or two before sticking them in the mail slot. Make sure you stand right there to encourage them.
Have your dog sit right near the mail slot while you step back, moving further away as your dog progresses. Then practice having your dog sit farther away from the slot.
If you’d like to have your dog retrieve the mail when the mailman comes, start fading your own cue to retrieve while you practice with a friend putting the mail through the slot. Let your dog just hang out near the slot, and wait 2 seconds after the mail comes through to remind your dog to retrieve. Eventually, the sound of the mail coming through the slot will cue your dog to go retrieve it, because they will anticipate your need for it shortly thereafter.
Isn’t that sweet? now you’ve got a mail dog!