Being a retriever, Dempsey has been retrieving things most of his life. When he was younger, he would sometimes bring me the remote control -- while I was in the bathroom. Or my socks: after I had washed them and taken them from the laundry room to the bedroom, he would find them upstairs and bring them back downstairs to me in the laundry room. Thanks a lot, Demps. Real helpful.
He's gotten much better about not retrieving unless asked, so now we're teaching him hunting. To be more specific, Doreen has taught Dempsey to "get the keys." Dempsey now understands what keys are, and he knows that when we say "get the keys," we want him to get the keys, and not the phone or the remote or the socks. We've now started trying to hide the keys, so Dempsey has to go hunt for them. We think this will be a useful skill.
You'll notice Dempsey is cheating. Instead of covering his eyes and counting to ten like we want him to, he watches where I might have left the keys, and goes to look there first. He's a smart dog, but lazy.
It's a good start, though. Eventually we'll teach Dempsey that when I can't find my keys, they're mostly likely in my pants. In the washing machine. But I don't think we'll cover that till we're in "big dogs" class.