Teaching your dog to “drop it,” or release an object in her mouth is a vitally important training tool. This command can help protect your dog when she picks up something dangerous with her mouth. It’s also a useful skill when playing catch and retrieve or tug-of-war with your pup. For a barn dog, however, this ability is necessary to keep the dog and the other animals on the farm as safe as possible.
The barn environment is one that is rife with heavy equipment, constant activity, and many other animals. A barn dog needs to be disciplined and attentive when her owner gives her a command, especially around larger animals like horses and cows. Barns are also full of fun items that a bored dog can easily find and put in her mouth. Some of those objects can be dangerous, so here are some training methods that can help your dog be safe in and around the barn.
Start training your dog to 'drop it' in an enclosed environment, preferably in your home. Let your dog master that part of the training process before moving into or around the barn to train in real time. Barns are full of items that are highly intriguing to dogs, everything from hoof trimmings and manure to chickens and rodents. You want to be able to have your dog in the barn without having to worry about her picking up what she shouldn’t have.
Teaching the 'drop it' command at the barn will take some time and practice, particularly with dogs who have a high prey or herding drive or who are easily distracted and unfocused. Remain calm, patient, and consistent with each training step. Never raise your voice or yell at your dog in frustration or anger. Take a break for a short while if you and your dog get annoyed. Keep a positive attitude, and soon your barn dog can be a productive member of your farm.
Have your dog’s favorite toy or some treats on hand to help facilitate the training sessions. Consider beginning the training in the living room or family room of your house before moving your dog to practice in the barn. This situation will allow your dog to focus more on you and less on the numerous distractions that can be found in the barn.
Once your dog has mastered the 'drop it' command indoors, gradually move out to the barn. Remember to be patient and calm as the added sights and sounds in the barn are bound to distract your dog at first. Go back to the training, be consistent, and keep trying. Your barn dog will learn to listen and will be all the safer for it.