When you want to get your dog to drop something in his mouth then you can use his favorite toy and then swap the toy with treats. Do not snatch things from the dog.
Teaching your dog to drop or release means training him to let go of whatever is in his mouth when you give him a verbal cue.
It’s essential that dog owners teach their pets this command since it’ll not only protect their dogs when they have something dangerous in their mouths but also help you to play certain games such as tug of war with them.
Most dogs learn this command very quickly. But, some can be distracted. Therefore, you need to exercise patience and persistence.
The crucial thing to remember is that your pet will obey this command readily if there is something to motivate him to do so. So, you’ll convince him to let go of the item in his mouth, and something good will happen.
Why the Drop Command is Helpful?
Some dogs may not be ready to let go of things, especially those they find motivating. So it makes it difficult for dog owners to play games such as fetch.
And when playing games such as tug-of-war, they may be counterproductive since the puppy always “wins” the game and will not give up the control of the object.
Other dogs might even be very possessive to the point, they’ll start being aggressive with some objects. The give and drop command is thus essential as it will help you to have constructive and positive play with your furry friend.
Plus, it can help you retrieve objects that your puppy should not have in its possession.
Note: As per feedback received from our readers, the most common point of time when they wanted their dog to drop the thing in its mouth was when the dog was in danger.
How to Train for Drop Command
Here is a step by step guide of how to teach your dog to let go of things.
1. Get Everything You Need
To train the drop command, you are going to need dog treats such Halo liv little freeze-dried treats. You also need a clicker and a toy that your pet likes.
2. Offer Your Dog his Favorite Toy
Have a toy in your hand, you can make it enticing by wiggling it around if necessary, then tell him to “take it.” If he’s extremely excited to see the toy, let him play with it for a minute or so before you begin the training. But, don’t wait so long that he gets bored with it.
3. Swap the Toy with the Treat
While the dog has the toy in his mouth, hold the treat up to his nose. Then say ‘drop it”, and if he obeys the command then you can give him the treat. You can repeat the command a couple of times but don’t make it too much. Also, now is the time to use a trigger if you have decided to use one.
After you say, “drop it,” click the clicker (just in case you are wondering about clicker training your dog then we do have an in-depth article on it).
Ensure that it occurs at the same time so that your pet learns to associate “drop it” with a clicking sound and get a treat. And as you do that, make sure that you are using the same command each time and remember to keep an assertive tone.
Tips to Help Your Train Drop Command Effectively
- If your pet becomes so excited by the treats, take a break and continue the training after a while.
- If he wouldn’t let go of the toy even after presenting him with the treat, try to wiggle it or hold it closer to his nose.
- For those dogs that love playing “keep away” have them wear a leash or a collar during the training.
- You can try using other words like “give” or “release” as alternatives for “drop it” but avoid saying “let go” since he might confuse it with “let’s go.”
- If your puppy enjoys carrying a specific thing in his mouth, train him with that object.
Once your pet has mastered the “drop it” command, you need now to teach him to leave the item he has dropped instead of picking it up again. If he tries to pick up the item he has dropped, avoid yelling or taking it by force.
Puppies respond best to positive reinforcement. Just give him a “leave it” command and treat him when he doesn’t pick the dropped object.
What to Avoid
When training your dog to obey this command, there are some things you shouldn’t do:
1. Grabbing dog head and snatching the item by force
You can only do this if you really think that your puppy is actually in danger. However, most of the things these animals pick are not that dangerous. And if you are patient for a minute, he’ll drop whatever he picked up.
It’s like when we are out shopping. We tend to pick things and give them a close look. And once we decide we don’t need them, we let go. The same thing happens with the puppies. Once they know what an item is, he decides that he doesn’t want it and he’ll drop it.
But if an item is extremely dangerous, you’ll be forced to open his mouth and remove it. To do this, you have to place your fingers on his lips behind his canine and pull his mouth open, you’ll now be able to remove the object. And as always, don’t forget to reward him for this treatment.
2. Choosing cue words that closely mimic other commands
For example, “drop” and “stop” rhyme. If you use the two words for different commands, you are likely to confuse the puppy. It’s advisable that you choose unique words or phrases and say them in a positive voice.
3. You should also avoid practicing in the same environment using the same items
The aim of teaching your dog command is to hone his understanding as much as you can. Now, remember that dogs are smart. If you continue using the same items and environment, he will only associate the command with specific toys and places.
It’s therefore essential that you teach your pet the command both inside and outside and offer different items.
4. Use acceptable chewing items when teaching drop command
Since you don’t want to encourage your pet to pick and drop something, that you’d instead want him getting hold of. For instance, if he likes chewing on your shoes, don’t use them to teach this trick. Or else, he might end up associating chewing on your shoes with getting a treat.
Common Issues and Troubleshooting Tips
1. My dog doesn’t readily give up the toy
Some owners may experience difficulties while trying to retrieve the toy. In such a case, we recommend that you start training with a toy that is of less value, such as nylon or rubber play toy. Allow your puppy to grasp it, and then give the command, take the toy almost immediately.
If he still doesn’t give up, you can prompt it to do so using a sit command and a favorite treat. And wait until he is sited, to pick up the toy. However, you could also use hand cues or the word drop, but do not show the treat.
Another solution to this is to wait as long as it takes until your puppy gets bored with the toy and when he has dropped it, call him over and give him a treat. One could also use clicker training if they want immediate reinforcement of the drop command.
2. My dog won’t pick up the objects
If you are having trouble getting him to pick up an object, worry not, it’s completely normal. What you should do is to have many treats to last you throughout the day. So whenever, you see him pick an object, you can ask him to “drop it” as we have explained above, and reward him if he obeys you.
3. My dog disobeys
When puppies disobey, they aren’t doing so to be manipulative. Dogs don’t have that behavior. Their disobedience is because your dog is either distorted, poorly trained or he is yet to understand the command as is therefore confused. So if he doesn’t drop, you should dedicate more time to this training.
Learn More With the Help of Video
Teaching your dog to drop things is essential as it can help you play constructively. When training this command, and any other, it’s vital that you don’t yell at your pet as doing that can send the wrong message, and could make him think that he’s being punished.
If your dog has something dangerous in his mouth, the best way to get him to drop it if everything fails is to throw many treats in front of him.