How to Train Your Dog to 'Take It'

Easy
5-10 Days
General

Introduction

Imagine having a dog so well trained that he will not take food or items unless he is given permission first. If you are going to train your dog to not take food or items, you will also need to train your dog to 'take it'. After all, there are just some times when it is nice to have your dog clean up that food that you spilled. 

Defining Tasks

Training your dog to take something is a very important part of basic obedience. If your dog understands what "take it" means then you can also train your dog to not take things, unless he is given permission. 'Take it' is also an important command when you are training your dog to hunt. You will need your bird dog to be able to take his bird, hold it, and bring it to you. To train this, your dog must know how to take the bird first.

Almost all dogs can learn how to take something. You will need to decide whether your dog is most motivated by food or moving toys, and choose the method that rewards that way. Expect this to take between five and ten days to train.

Getting Started

To get started you will need lots of small, tasty treats, and a happy, excited attitude. If you are using the 'Ball' method, you will also need a ball, such as a tennis ball. If you are using the 'Movement' method, you will need a long toy that you can move in front of your dog. A stuffing-free stuffed animal or a Tug of War rope toy will work well for this. It will also be helpful if your dog already knows the 'leave it' or 'wait' command.

The Food Method

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Step
1
Place treat in hand
To begin, place a treat in your hand and close your hand.
Step
2
Show your dog your hand
Show your dog the closed hand that contains the treat. Allow your dog to sniff at your hand, but do not allow him to eat the treat yet.
Step
3
Tell your dog to 'leave it'
If your dog knows the 'leave it' command or 'wait' command, say the command. Once your dog stops trying to get the food, either because of your command or because he simply gave up on trying to get the treat, praise him and open your hand.
Step
4
Add command
While you are opening your hand, tell your dog to "take it". If your dog needs encouragement to take the food, put your open hand right under his nose, or pick up the treat with your fingers and touch the treat to front of his mouth.
Step
5
Praise him
When he takes the treat, praise him.
Step
6
Practice it!
Practice having him leave the treat and take the treat. Once he will take the treat readily when told, practice this command with many different items, until he will take whatever you tell him to.
Recommend training method?

The Ball Method

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Step
1
Place ball in hand
To begin, place a ball in your hand and close your hand around it.
Step
2
Show your dog the ball
Show your dog the ball in your hand and allow him to sniff it, but do not allow him take it.
Step
3
Tell your dog to 'leave it'
If your dog knows the 'leave it' or 'wait', give the command. Once your dog stops trying to get the ball, either because of your command or because he simply gave up on trying to get it, praise him and open your hand.
Step
4
Add command
While you are opening your hand, tell your dog to "take it". If your dog needs encouragement to take the ball, toss the ball to him, roll the ball towards him, or throw the ball a few feet away from him.
Step
5
Add treat if needed
If your dog will still not take the ball and he is comfortable with having his mouth opened, then gently open your dog's mouth and place the ball inside. While the ball is inside of his mouth, praise him enthusiastically, then remove the ball and give him a treat.
Step
6
Repeat
Repeat having your dog leave the ball and then take the ball. Do this until he will take it every time that he is told to. If he needed the extra motivation of the treat, then repeat placing the ball into his mouth and then offering him a treat. Do this until he will take the ball into his mouth when told "take it".
Step
7
Practice with different objects
Once your dog will readily take a ball into his mouth, practice this command with different items using the same process. Do this until he will readily take things when told to.
Recommend training method?

The Movement Method

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Step
1
Choose a toy
To begin, choose a toy that can be wiggled or resembles a real animal, such as a squirrel. A floppy stuffed animal or Tug of War toy should work for this.
Step
2
Show your dog the toy
Place the toy in your hand and show your dog the toy. Allow your dog to sniff the toy, but do not allow your dog to take the toy yet.
Step
3
Tell your dog "Leave It"
If your dog knows 'leave it' or 'wait', give him the command. Once your dog stops trying to get the toy, either because of your command or because he lost interest or gave up, praise him.
Step
4
Hide toy
If your dog will not stop attempting to get the toy before you have told him to "take It", then every time that he attempts to bite the toy, place the toy behind your back until he calms back down. When he is calm again, repeat the process until he is no longer attempting to get the toy. Praise him when he stops attempting to get the toy in front of him.
Step
5
Add command
Once your dog has stopped trying to get the toy out of your hand, command him to "take it" and offer him the toy. If your dog needs encouragement to take the toy then wiggle the toy along the ground excitedly, shake the toy in the air, place the toy under his nose, or toss the toy to him.
Step
6
Add treat if needed
If your dog will still not take the toy, and if he is used to having his mouth opened, gently open his mouth up and place the toy inside while telling him "take it". While the toy is in his mouth, praise him enthusiastically, then remove the toy and offer him a treat. Do this until he will take the toy into his mouth when told "take it".
Step
7
Practice makes perfect!
Once your dog will readily take the toy into his mouth, practice this command with different items using the same process. Do this until he will gladly take things when told to.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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