How to Train Your Dog to Drop an Object

Easy
1-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

There is nothing worse than playing fetch with your pup and he won't drop the toy once he brings it back to you. That is unless you have a dog with a slipper fetish--then nothing is worse than soggy slippers. Training your dog to drop an item is not as hard as you might think, it just takes a little time and patience. The last thing you want to do is chase him around endlessly. Not only is this futile, but your pup will simply think you are playing a game.

In fact, the more you chase him and the louder you yell, the faster your pup is likely to run away from you. A much better solution to the problem, one that will make everyone happy (except for maybe your pup who will miss the game) is to simply teach him to drop items on demand. This is a very important command, as it will be useful in many other tricks you can teach your dog down the road.

Defining Tasks

The task is simple: your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to train your dog to release anything he has in his mouth into your hand when you tell him to. This is a very important action to train your dog as it may stop him from getting hurt if he picks up something he shouldn't and it lets him play a number of games such as fetch or tug of war without anyone getting hurt.

The command is very simple, most people tend to use the two words "Drop it!" in a strong and commanding voice without yelling. In fact, the last thing you want to do is yell at your dog as this can turn the whole thing into a game, one that can be hard to overcome. While you can teach any age dog this simple command, it is one you really need to teach your pup at an early age. In most cases, you can teach this trick to your dog within a few days. Remember to work in short sessions of around 15 minutes several times a day. Be sure to give him plenty of praise and rewards when he does what he is told.

Getting Started

Like any good training program, there are a number of things you will need to successfully train your pup to drop an object. Among these are:

  • Treats: Be sure to have plenty of treats on hand to reward your dog when he gets things right.
  • A training toy: Training like this should be started using a particular toy.
  • A quiet area: The best possible place to train is a quiet room or yard, as training is easier with fewer distractions.
  • A voice command: Pick a command you plan to use and stick to it. Changing commands will only lead to confusion.
  • Patience: No matter what you are training your dog to do, you need tons of patience. Remember, the more stressed and upset you get, the more it affects the success of your attempts at training.
  • Praise: you can never give your dog too much praise when he gets it right. It makes him feel good when you praise him and will also help the two of you to form a stronger bond.

The Trade Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Take it
Offer your dog one of his favorite toys using the command 'take it'.
Step
2
Play
Let him play with it for a few minutes until he calms down.
Step
3
Distract
While he still has a hold on the toy, offer him a treat.
Step
4
Treat
When he drops the toy, give him the treat.
Step
5
Practice
Rinse and repeat until your dog releases the toy each time.
Step
6
Add command
Now do this but add in the ‘drop it’ command while holding the treat out to him.
Step
7
Remove treat
Start moving the treat farther away from his nose, use the verbal command and try withholding the treat. If he continues to drop the toy, be sure to heap on tons of praise and repeat without the treats.
Recommend training method?

The Exchange Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Offer a toy
Give your pup one of his favorite toys using the ‘take it’ command. By doing this, you are showing him you are the one in control.
Step
2
Offer a trade
Now that he has a toy in his mouth, offer him another one of his favorite toys in exchange, using the command ‘drop it’. If he drops the first toy in favor of the new one, be sure to praise him.
Step
3
Up the ante
If he doesn't drop it, never try to pry his jaws apart as this can be dangerous for both of you. Instead, try offering him a treat in exchange for the toy.
Step
4
Repeat
Continue this form of "exchange" training until he gets the idea.
Step
5
Cut out the trade
Try again with the exchange of toys method and then try without any type of exchange, repeating the process and heaping on tons of praise each time he gets it right. It might take a few days of working with him until he drops things on command.
Recommend training method?

The Around the Room Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Treat trail
Start by walking around the room saying, "drop it" and then dropping a tasty treat on the floor.
Step
2
Associate with the floor
Point to the treats and place your hand on the ground near the treat. This will get him used to your hand being on the ground.
Step
3
Change posture
Do this from several positions such as crouching, standing, or kneeling. This will help your dog become accustomed to treats being dropped on the ground when you say, "drop it."
Step
4
Switch to toys
Once your pup has become used to the process, switch out the treats you have been dropping for a toy, giving him a treat each time he "hands" you the toy--along with tons of praise.
Step
5
Increase the challenge
Be sure to start with a toy that he has less interest in at first and then move on to his favorites later as this will make it easier for him to make the transition and be willing to drop anything he has in his mouth.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Misha
Miniature Pinscher
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Misha
Miniature Pinscher
5 Years

Want her to stop eating her poop. When I say “Drop it” she swallows it quickly and runs. Having been a breeder dog in a crate for 4 years she doesn’t know how to play. I’m slowly getting her to do a gentle tug which she gives up very easily. How do I get her to stop eating her poop?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hi! Your best bet with this one is to be preemptive. Get her before she has a chance to pick up the poop. You can teach her "leave it" and apply it to anything you want her to stop getting into/going after. Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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