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How To Teach a Dog To Drop It

Written by FOTP Team

Updated

Jack russell with tennis ball in mouth

If you have a new dog in your family that puts everything in its mouth, you can learn how to teach a dog to drop it. This guide can help prevent destruction and keep your dog out of the ER.

Why It’s Important To Learn How To Teach a Dog To Drop It 

'Drop it' is one of the most useful commands you can teach your dog. Puppies in particular learn about the world with their mouth; they taste, chew and generally learn what their boundaries are. As dogs get older, it's up to us to help them understand what they can nibble and what they can't. Here's just a few reasons why 'drop it' is so important:

Your important item

Whether it's the remote control, your favourite handbag or your comfy slippers, if it belongs to you, your dog needs to learn it's off limits. Unfortunately, if it's something you use quite often, it's probably going to smell like you, which gives your dog added incentive to pick it up. Once it's been thoroughly chewed, you’ve not only got the expense of replacing it, but also the added hassle of undoing your dog's thought process that this behaviour is OK.

Setting a bad precedent

Let’s say you’ve just noticed your beloved pet has just charged past you with your wallet in their mouth. If you start chasing after them, it’s now become a game and your dog now knows this is a great way to get your attention. A smarter dog might even notice you pick your wallet up every time you’re about to leave the house (and them) so they learn this is a great delaying tactic.

It’s incredibly dangerous

As cute as it might look to see a puppy running through the house with a huge slipper in its mount, this is actually very dangerous. Your dog doesn’t understand that the bar of chocolate you’re nibbling on the sofa is toxic to him or that bacon in the pan is incredibly hot. He just knows it smells amazing and by the time he’s grabbed it and you’ve got to him, he’s always swallowed half of it.

If your dog knows the ‘drop it’ command and obeys instantly, you’re stopping all these situations before they’ve escalated. Leaving your possessions, bank balance and most importantly, your dog’s health, unscathed.

Here are six steps for training your dog to drop it:

1. Select a High-Value Currency for Your Dog

What motivates your dog? Does food capture your dog’s rapt attention, or is there a special treat that makes them come to you? Try Front Of The Pack’s natural freeze-dried Treats Variety Pack. Move these treats out of regular rotation and only use them for learning how to teach a dog to drop it.

2. Present a Low-Value Toy to Your Dog

Choose a toy that doesn’t excite your dog, or at least isn't their favorite. Decreased interest means they’ll be willing to let it go when commanded. Let them play with the toy by themselves for a couple of minutes.

3. Place a High-Value Treat in Front of Your Dog

Put a treat directly in front of your dog. They should want the treat and immediately drop the toy due to the disparity in interest levels between the two. When your dog drops the toy, give them praise and/or use a clicker to mark the desired behavior.

4. Remove the Toy From Your Dog’s View and Present It Again

As soon as your dog begins eating the desirable treat, hide the toy behind your body. Give the toy to your dog as soon as they’ve finished the treat. Repeat this process.

5. Add a Verbal Cue To Help You Learn How To Teach a Dog to Drop It

Once your dog drops the toy when presented with the treat, add a verbal cue. The phrase “drop it” works well because that is the desired action.

6. Eliminate Treats From Training Process

Next, command “drop it” without presenting the treats. If your dog drops the toy, praise, click and give several treats. If the toy isn’t dropped without the treats, try again and wait a few seconds before presenting the treat.

Repeat these steps several times. The key is to keep practicing.

Find the Best Treats for How To Teach a Dog To Drop It During Training

You only want your dog eating nutritious food, not your favorite shoes. Front Of The Pack has everything you need, including supplements, treats and organic dog food. Learn how to teach a dog to drop it and then give one of our delicious treats as a reward.