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Teaching Your Dog to Drop It

Teaching your dog to drop it may not seem like a priority in the list of things that you need to teach your dog, but, as we will see in this article, it is important that you take the time to do so.

Why It Is Important to Learn How to Train Your Dog to Drop It

Teaching your dog to drop an item when it is in his mouth is critical because it can save your dog’s life. For instance, let’s say you are walking your dog, and he gets ahold of a chicken bone (unfortunately people seem to think it is OK to eat chicken and toss the bones in the grass, not realizing that a dog can easily get ahold of it).  You must be able to act quickly to get your dog to drop it without eating it first.

Another important reason to be able to get your dog to drop an object that he is interested in quickly is that it can save your furniture or other precious objects in your home. Your dog may not know the difference between his chew toy and your expensive leather shoes, so it is a good idea to have him trained to drop an object on command.

Tools and Materials Needed to Teach Your Dog to Drop It

  • Patience
  • Some of your dogs favorite toys
  • Treats

How to Train Your Dog to Drop It

Patience

As with anything else you are training your dog to do, the number one tool you need in your tool belt is patience. Patience will help you not to give up if your dog does not seem to understand what you are trying to get him to do right away.

Just like humans, dogs can take a few tried before they learn. And that is OK. With patience, you will not expect too much of your dog too soon, and this will allow the exercise to be fun for both of you, rather than something to dread.

The Process

Allow your dog to hold one of his favorite toys in his mouth.

Now, it is imperative that you do not make this a game of chase or tug-of-war. Your goal here is to get your dog to release the toy in his mouth upon your command. If you pull at the toy, you will be teaching your dog that this is a tug-of-war session. If you go after your dog to try and get the toy away from him, you will be teaching him that this is a game of chase or keep-away.

Claim the toy for yourself. Get your dog to come to you. Once your dog has the toy in his mouth, you can place your hand on a portion of the toy (it will be easier if this is a larger toy) and hold the toy. Just hold, do not pull. At the same time, give your command, “Drop it!”

To get your dog to release the toy quickly, you can use one of the treats and, once again, use the command and show your dog the treat. Once your dog has dropped the toy, reward him with the treat.

Repeat this over many times until your dog drops the toy without you giving him a treat and without you having to claim the toy for yourself. The goal here is to get your dog to learn to drop anything that is in his mouth as soon as he hears the command, “Drop it!”

Some Points to Keep in Mind

Again, remember that, as tempting as it may be to chase your dog when he does not come to you, or to pull on the toy to get him to let it go, you will not be teaching your dog properly if you do so. Your dog should complete the action of dropping the toy on his own. This way he will learn to make the connection with the command.

It is important to wait it out as well and have patience. If you have called your dog to you, wait until he comes to you. If you have asked him to drop it and he is trying to play tug of war, hold the toy and do not allow him to pull on it. Patiently wait until he releases it.

Use the treats as necessary. Do not forget, however, that the goal is to get your dog to the point where he releases the toy without receiving a treat. This is important because, in a life-threatening situation, you may not have a treat handy to get him to release.

What Do the Experts Say?

Victoria Stilwell

In this article, Victoria helps you to teach your dog to learn to take a toy while dropping another one.

https://positively.com/dog-behavior/basic-cues/take-it-drop-it/

More Dog Training Articles

Have you enjoyed reading this article? Read more articles in our dog training series:

How to Train Your Dog to Heel

Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Potty Train Your Puppy

Teach Your Dog to Sit

Train Your Dog to Leave It

How did you teach your dog to drop a toy?

Caroline Kellam

Caroline Kellam

Caroline Kellam is the co-owner of PAWSitive Strides Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Services and a huge animal lover. She and her husband, Brian, share their home with six (yes, you read it right, six!) rescued dogs and three cockatiels (one of which was found on a neighbor's roof). She would love to have a cat or two as well, but the dogs (and the birds) will simply not stand for it.
Caroline Kellam

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