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How To Train Your Dog to Release

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Training your dog to "drop it" means teaching your dog to let go of whatever is in his mouth on command. The release command is very important to teach your dog. It can protect him when he has something dangerous in his mouth, plus it allows you and your dog to safely play games like tug-of-war.

It only takes a few minutes to teach most dogs the release command "drop it". However, some dogs can become easily distracted, so be patient and persistent. The idea behind this training method is to basically offer your dog a trade - "let go of the object in your mouth and something good will happen."

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 - 10 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Offer your dog one of his favorite toys, saying "take it."
  2. Once the toy is in his mouth, say "drop it" firmly and clearly while holding a treat up to his nose.
  3. As soon as your dog releases the toy, give him the treat.
  4. If your dog does not let go of the toy, try wiggling the treat or holding it closer to the nose. DO NOT pull the toy from his mouth or pry open his jaws - this can send the wrong message, seeming like a game or punishment.
  5. Repeat the steps several times until you feel your dog is responding well. After a while, try holding the treat farther away. Then, try the command without the treat, praising your dog if he complies.

Tips:

  1. If your dog becomes overly excited or obsessed with the treats, take a break and restart the training session at a later time.
  2. Once your dog seems to understand the release command, you can practice it randomly while your dog is holding something in his mouth.
  3. For dogs that like to play "keep away" - keep a leash and collar on your dog during training sessions so he can not run away with the toy in his mouth.
  4. Other words can be used to teach this command, like "give" or "release." However, be certain the command you choose will be clear. "Let go" may be confused with "Let's go" (for a ride, walk, etc).

What You Need

  • 2 or 3 toys that your dog loves
  • A big handful of your dog's favorite treats
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