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How to Teach Your Puppy to Drop Something

Learn how to teach your puppy to drop something from dog trainer Robert Haussmann of Dogboy, Inc. in this dog training video from Howcast.


Teaching your puppy to drop something should be a fun and easy thing to do. Most dogs will scavenge and grabs things off the floor, and I find that people have a tendency to just yell, "drop it, drop it, drop it" at the dog, but the dog really doesn't understand the language of what you're asking. So preparing a dog that drop it means literally spit whatever is in your mouth out. All right. And it takes time to do, but it's relatively easy, especially if you make it kind of fun and engaging.

So I'm going to ask Darwin here to come over here, and I'm going to offer his this flossy, which is a piece of dehydrated rawhide. And while he's getting that, I'm going to let him get a good chew going here before I say drop it. Good boy. And I offer him another food source out of my other hand. So you could do this with socks, paper towel, toilet paper, things that the dog has a tendency to steal, but just make sure you have control over it. He's on a leash. He can't run under the table with it. He can't disappear into his crate with it, where you put yourself in a weird situation with the dog. This is something that's right here. I'm right here with him. I have control over him. He puts it in his mouth, and I say drop it. Yes. Good boy.

Now this is a kind of high-value thing to drop, and I normally wouldn't ask you to start with something like this. At your house you can start with something that's a little bit easier for him to drop, one of his tug toys, one of his balls, something like that, when you ask him for a drop. Now once you do a few repetitions of this, you shouldn't need to use food anymore. He'll make the association with the word "drop it." So dogs learn primarily by making associations with sound. The same way a dog knows the sound of the treat jar or the sound of the cabinet that has his food in it, they can also learn the sound of a specific command and what it means to them.

So if you say drop it, and drop it means you present the new food item for him that he drops one thing for and it's rewarding to him, he'll stop dropping it automatically for the reward. Now the big mistake people make is the dog will steal something specifically to get you to chase it around the house. So it's one of the funnier things you see when kids come home from school, nobody's paying attention to the dog. The dog will dart into the bedroom, grab on of the kid's favorite toys, and run through the living room with it. He doesn't hide under the bed and chew it. He runs through the living room, because he knows that that's how you start the dog show and you get everybody up chasing you around.

This is something that you can automatically make it a more pleasant and exciting thing to drop something out of his mouth. Try not to use it so much for punishment. You'll see that after he's doing it with any repetition and any ease, we have a tendency to go "drop it, drop it, drop it" and yell at them. Try and keep it pleasant and exciting. He'll do what works best for him. Don't try and challenge him with it too much. All right. So that's a pretty easy way to teach your dog drop it.

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