Teaching Drop It
Teaching "drop it" at an early age will be extremely useful when your dog decides to steal something undesirable. This amazing trick can also be used when playing fetch, exercising and general bonding. This can be achieved in three simple steps.
Step 1: Choose two items that motivate your dog equally! For example, I find using two tennis balls extremely effective - use whatever works for your dog. Start by throwing the first toy and letting them play for a while to release some energy. When your dog is ready, call him/her back using “come”. When they get close enough, present them with the second toy and command “drop it”.
Step 2: Wait for your dog to naturally drop the toy rather than taking it out of their mouths or pulling at it as this will only encourage play behaviours. Once they have dropped the item, reward with a treat and redirect their attention by throwing the second item. Repeat this action until your dog is learning that coming back to you and dropping their toy is rewarding.
Step 3: Pick up the dog toy every time they drop it at your feet. This is good practice for if they pick up an undesirable item in the future as it will be easier to get off of them. Begin to increase the length of time between picking up the dropped toy and releasing the second one and always praise for good behaviour.
Tip: Be careful - if you don’t give your dog a toy in exchange, they will learn that playtime finishes when they drop the toy, therefore will become more reluctant to give it up in future.