Good Pooch! Teaching Your Dog to 'Drop It!'

Photo: S. Merikallio

Our second most important dog command in the Good Pooch series is training your pup how to 'Drop It'. Dogs lead with their noses, which is why they're always getting into things they shouldn't be. In the case that your dog gets into something potentially dangerous, you want to make sure he's mastered the 'Drop It' command and instantly releases whatever he may have in his mouth.

Items You'll Need to Train the Pooch
-Treats ranging from low-value treats like kibble to high-value treats like liver.
-Your dog's favorite toy
-Ample patience

1. Give your dog her favorite toy and quietly watch her play with it for a bit. Once her attention is completely on the toy, call her name and say 'Drop It'. By saying her name, you'll redirect her attention to you and it'll take a couple of tries (especially if this is your first time training her), but once she drops the toy, reward her immediately with praise and high-value treats. Repeat the process once more, but stop after one repetition as your dog will be concentrating more on the treats than the process of training.

2. Continue this training process throughout the day (you want to hit a goal of training him at least 10 times a day), giving lesser and lesser value treats each time. Keep training your pup for the next several days using this same method and starting with high-value treats at the beginning of the day.

3. The next phase of the training repeats the first phase, but instead of giving her the toy to play with, keep your hold on the toy and tug back, then after a few tugs, give the command to 'Drop It'. Once your dog drops the toy, give her the equivalent of three high-value treats. Continue this training for the next several days sporadically throughout the day until your pup can 'Drop It' while you're tugging with the first command.

4. In the final phase of your training, graduate the 'Drop It' process to real life objects like pens, clothing items, and food wrappers. Then when your pooch is ready, move the training outside!

Don't forget—a good pooch is a safe pooch! And also check out our #1 most important command, training your dog to have perfect recall.

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Published on by Beatrix Chan.

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