Drop It

Ideas for cues: “drop it”, “out”, “give” 

“Drop it” is a cue that asks your dog to drop an item out of his mouth. This could be anything they have picked up off the ground: a sock , a shoe, potential dangers, or a ball to be thrown again.

How to train:

Start out with lots of small pea-sized treats. You don’t need a clicker for this exercise. You will first train this behaviour when your dog has nothing in their mouth.

Step 1. Say “drop it!”

Step 2. Scatter 5-10 tiny treats on the floor.

Step 3. Help your dog find wayward treats.

Step 4: Repeat this 10 times, randomly over the course of a day when your dog least expects it.

Be sure to do it in this order so you are not saying “drop it” at the same time or after you scatter treats. You need to have a solid conditioned response in order to move forward.

Next add a few distractions like carrying a bag, pushing a stroller, shaking your keys, putting on your coat, tying up your shoes, talking on the phone, etc…

Next, test the cue in a low distraction environment: Say “drop it” when your dog least expects it and see if they respond by looking at your or at the ground near you. If you get no response it just means that you need to work more on conditioning the word …but…

Even if your dog ignores the word, toss the treats on the ground, you want them to wholeheartedly believe that every single time they hear this cue, food always appears on the ground beside you. The treats are not contingent on the behaviour. 

To use this behaviour as an actual ‘drop it’, give your dog an item that you know they will pick up, but not one that is dangerous or so desirable that they will not likely drop it. Once they have it in their mouth, play the “drop” game again and even use the toy as a reward so that it becomes a game.

You want to see that they will drop the object to pick up all the treats and refocus on you. Also, try to change up the treats so that they never know when they are getting the mid-value treats and when they’re going to get the AMAZING treats.

Check out this fantastic video from Chirag Patel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndTiVOCNY4M

Caution: Do not practice this if your dog has guarding issues (in other words is possessive or aggressive around food, toys, objects, etc…). Please consult with your trainer before moving forward.