How to Teach Your Dog To “Drop It”

Tug-of-war is all fun and games, until it becomes a battle to get your dog to drop just about anything they can get their paws on. This behavior can make removing any object within your dog’s possession unnecessarily difficult and sometimes dangerous depending if your dog becomes aggressive when you try to take something away from them. If you continue to find yourself in a constant match between your dog, it’s time to consider teaching your dog the fundamental skill of dropping.

1. Begin with a Toy

The training process should begin in a simple, yet effective, manner, which is allowing your dog to enjoy playing with one of their toys or a substitute, such as a rag, in the case of your dog not being toy-motivated. Once you have given your dog the toy, then you want to attach a command of “take it” to the action before allowing them to play with it.

2. Trade the Toy for a Treat

Before your dog loses interest in the toy, offer them a treat. The goal is to give them the treat once they have dropped the toy. After they have done this, repeat the process a few times afterwards to get them used to the action followed by the reward.

3. Implement the Word “Drop”

Next, you want to begin introducing them to the verbal cue of “Drop.” Make sure you have your dogs attention, speak the word and then show them the treat. Repeat the word again, waiting for them to drop the item currently in their mouth. After they have done it, then you can reward them with the treat and praise. You will then need to repeat this process again and again.

Be careful when choosing the word you want to use when training your dog, as it’s important to make sure that the word doesn’t resemble anything like another command your dog has already learned. If this is the case, then choose another word that is similar in meaning to ‘drop’ or choose a word that best suits the action to you/is easy for you to remember. No matter the word, make sure to use a similar, positive tone that helps them understand the cue.

4. Try the Cue Whenever

After your dog has responded to the word continuously, you are going to want to see if they can successfully drop anything when told to. The next time your dog grabs something that isn’t a toy, try the word and see how successful they are in following instructions. This will give you a good idea of where they are training-wise and if any steps need to be repeated or re-learned. When they react positively and successfully complete the command, be sure to congratulate this good behavior with treats or praise.

Your Trusted Dog Trainer

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