There are many reasons why you might want to have your dog drop food he has in his mouth already. First might be teaching your dog manners. You may want to offer him the food that he snatched off of your kitchen counter, but he needs to know to have manners and wait for you to offer it instead of taking it himself. Second, and a more important reason, would be if your dog has food in his mouth that could potentially cause him harm. Foods such as grapes, avocados, chocolates, cherries, and other items that are not safe for dogs need to be dropped because your dog could possibly become sick if he continues to eat the food he has put in his mouth. And finally, your dog could be eating a food that he could potentially choke on. Dogs who chew on tendons until they are the perfect size to get stuck in the throat often need to be told to ‘drop it’ before it does become lodged.
Getting your dog to drop food is as simple as teaching him ‘drop it’ commands. You can do this in several ways using treats and building up to using food so your dog understands even though he gets treats, he cannot have the food that's in his mouth. To work on ‘drop it’ commands, your dog should be trained in basic obedience. You will need some patience and some time for short and repetitive training sessions. These commands can be used not only for food that might be in your dog's mouth, but other items that could cause him harm, so this is an important one to teach your dog. Toys can become lodged in a dog's throat or your dog could hold onto items including food that you wish for him not to have. So, once you get basic commands down, be sure to teach this one to your dog.
You are going to need a few supplies:
- Toys, preferably not his all-time favorite toys at first and then build up to something he loves the most.
- Treats for rewarding when it is appropriate.
- Enthusiasm, excitement and lots of verbal praise.
- If you are clicker training, be prepared with a clicker.
Have fun with each session. Remember your dog wants to please you, while you want to keep him protected and well-behaved.