Top Training Tip: Drop It
Teaching your dog to “Drop it” is not only for ball game, but for many things your dog may pick up during the day; a shoe, your child’s favourite teddy, a bone they find while out on a walk.
Teaching him to open his mouth and let you take an object from him is a very important safety lesson as well – for the times that he may get hold of something dangerous.
Teaching “drop it” also helps to prevent him from guarding his chewies or toys from you. He will learn that releasing items means good things, not that he just loses what he was having fun with.
It only takes a few minutes to teach most dogs the release command “drop it.” However, some dogs can become easily distracted, so be patient and persistent. The idea behind this training method is to basically offer your dog a trade: “let go of the object in your mouth and something good will happen.”
How To Train “Drop it”
1. Offer your dog one of his toys (not his favourite one), saying “take it.”
2. If your dog is highly excited to see the toy, you might want to let him have a minute or so to play before you start training. Just do not wait so long that he gets bored with the toy.
3. While the toy is in your dog’s mouth, hold a treat up to his nose.
4. As soon as your dog releases the toy, give him the treat.
5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 several times until you feel your dog is responding well.
6. Now, add the verbal cue, such as “drop it.” Say the cue firmly and clearly while still holding the treat near his nose. Repeat this until your dog is doing it successfully 4 out of 5 times.
7. Not you’re going to increase the value of the item your dog needs to drop, so you can now give him his favourite toy, and repeat the process. You are slowly teaching him that even his favourite things aren’t bad to give up because he gets rewarded for it.
8. Now they your dog is willing to give up a high value item (his favourite toy) try holding the treat farther away. Gradually increase the distance if he still responds to the verbal cue. Remember to always go at your dogs’ pace. If you see they aren’t managing, go back to the previous step and keep practicing until they are ready to move to the next step.
9. Then, try the command without the treat, praising your dog if he complies.
• If your dog becomes overly excited or fixates on the treats, take a break and restart the training session at a later time.
• If your dog does not let go of the toy when the treat is presented, try wiggling the treat or holding it closer to his nose.
• For dogs that like to run away the moment they have a toy, have your dog wear a leash and collar during training sessions.
• Other one or two-word commands can be used like “give” or “release.” You might want to avoid “Let go,” it may be confused with “Let’s go.”
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