How To Train & Teach Dog To Drop It

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Key Takeaways

  • The "drop it" command is essential for your dog's safety, and fosters improved dog-owner communication.
  • Begin training with a low-value item, gradually escalating to higher-value items as your dog becomes more proficient.
  • Consistency, repetition, and positive reinforcement are critical in effectively teaching the "drop it" command.
  • Once mastered in a controlled environment, practice the command in various scenarios to help your dog generalize the command.

Training your dog to drop it is a crucial command that all dogs should know for playtime and their overall safety. We’ll show you how to teach it.

To train a dog to drop it, start with a low-value item your dog likes. Once they take it, show a high-value treat, say "Drop it." They should drop the item for the treat. Repeat and reward their behavior each time. Gradually reduce treats and practice in different settings and be patient.

With consistent and correct application of the methods I'm about to share, you can train your dog to "drop it" effectively. Remember, dog training isn't just about obedience—it's about cultivating a relationship of trust and understanding between you and your furry friend. So, let's get started with this valuable lesson.

In this article

Train & Teach Dog To Drop It (Complete Guide)

Having a well-trained dog is essential for their safety and the tranquility of your home. One crucial command every dog should learn is "Drop It." This command teaches your dog to release any object they have in their mouth.

This command can prevent them from swallowing harmful items or causing damage. But it’s also useful during playtime and strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend.

This is one of the easier commands to teach. So usually, you won’t need a certified professional dog trainer to see success. Here are the exact steps to follow to teach your dog to drop it.

Prepare for Training

Before diving into the training process, gathering the necessary tools and creating a distraction-free environment is crucial. This is necessary when training dogs.

Training your dog can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it requires careful preparation to ensure success. You will need a few essential items to teach your dog to drop it successfully.

These include an assortment of dog-friendly toys, treats or rewards that motivate your dog, and a clicker or verbal marker to signal desired behaviors. There should be one high-value treat like a chicken bone or tasty treat for successful training too.

When it comes to choosing dog-friendly toys, consider your dog's preferences and needs. Most dogs are more motivated by squeaky toys, while others may prefer plush or interactive toys. Experiment with different types of toys to find what works best for your furry friend.

Setting Up a Distraction-Free Environment

Creating a distraction-free training area is key to your dog's focus and progress. Pick a quiet room or space in your home where you can limit distractions and potential disruptions. Clear the area of any potentially harmful objects and ensure your dog's attention remains on the training process.

When selecting a training area, consider the size of your dog and the type of training you will be doing. A designated corner in a room may be sufficient if you have a small dog. However, if you have a larger dog or plan to do more active training, you may need a larger space, such as a fenced yard or an open area in a park.

Remove any objects that may distract your dog during training. This includes toys from their toy box, other pets, or any items that may pique your dog's curiosity. By creating a clean and clutter-free environment, you can ensure that your dog's attention is solely focused on you and the training exercises.

Introduce the Command

Start by holding a toy in your hand and allowing your dog to take it. This step is crucial as it sets the foundation for teaching the "Drop It" command. Once your dog has a firm grip on the toy, say, "Drop It" firmly but gently. It's important to use a consistent and clear voice tone to convey the command effectively.

At the same time, hold high-value treats or a food reward near their nose to capture their attention. This technique helps redirect their focus from the toy to the reward.

As the dog drops the toy, immediately praise them and give them the treat. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in dog training, as it encourages desired behavior and strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend.

Reinforcing the Command with Rewards

Consistency and repetition are vital when training your dog to drop objects. Gradually increase the duration your dog holds the toy before giving the "Drop It" command.

This step helps your dog understand that they need to release the object when prompted, regardless of how long they have held it. Reward your dog each time they release the object, gradually reducing the frequency of treats while increasing verbal praise and physical affection.

This shift in rewards helps your dog transition from relying solely on treats to responding to your verbal cues and gestures. It's important to be patient and consistent during this phase of training because early on when your dog grabs the toy when it shouldn't, you need to stay patient.

Practicing the Command in Different Scenarios

Once your dog has grasped the "Drop It" command in a controlled environment, it's time to practice in different scenarios. This step helps your dog generalize the command and respond to it regardless of the circumstances.

Start by introducing distractions, such as other toys or treats, while your dog is holding the current object. This step challenges their focus and self-control, as they need to release the current object to engage with the new distraction.

Gradually increase the difficulty by practicing outdoors or in busier environments, where there are more distractions present. Once they drop things on command, you can play a fun game of fetch too.

How To Deal With Common Training Issues

Dealing with Stubborn Behaviors

If your dog shows resistance or stubbornness during training, it is essential to remain patient and persistent.

Avoid engaging in a tug-of-war battle and instead create an environment that encourages your dog to release the object willingly. Offer higher-value treats or rewards to motivate them to drop the item.

Overcoming Fear or Anxiety-Related Issues

Many dogs may exhibit fear or anxiety when asked to release objects during their first few training sessions. This behavior can stem from possessiveness or past negative experiences.

If your dog shows signs of fear or anxiety, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who can guide you in overcoming these specific challenges. This is especially true when playing fetch.

Why You Should Train & Teach Dog The Drop It Command

One often overlooked but critically important command is "drop it." This command instructs your dog to release whatever is in their mouth immediately. But why is it so crucial? Let's delve into the reasons why you should train and teach your dog the "drop it" command.


The foremost reason to teach your dog the "drop it" command is for their safety. Dogs are naturally curious creatures. They explore the world through their noses and mouths, and this can lead them to pick up potentially harmful objects.

This could be a small toy that poses a choking hazard, spoiled food that could make them sick, or a toxic substance that could lead to serious health issues. In such instances, the "drop it" command could literally save your dog's life.

Prevention of Destructive Behavior

Many dogs, especially puppies and younger dogs, tend to chew on inappropriate items like shoes, furniture, or personal belongings. This behavior not only leads to the destruction of your property but can also be harmful to your dog.

The "drop it" command can help prevent or interrupt this behavior, teaching your dog what they are allowed to chew on and what is off-limits. So if something is in your dog’s mouth that shouldn't be, they will quickly drop it when hearing the proper verbal cue.

Promotes Positive Dog-Owner Relationship

Training your dog to drop items on command helps establish a clear line of communication between you and your pet.

It allows you to intervene in potentially harmful situations without resorting to yelling or physical force, promoting a more positive relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During Training

Teaching your dog to "drop it" can be a life-saving skill, but remember that patience is key. Every dog learns at their own pace. Celebrate small victories and make the training process fun and rewarding for your dog. Try to avoid these mistakes.

  • Never Chase: If your dog picks up something they shouldn't, resist the urge to chase them. It might seem like a game to them, and they may start to run away.
  • Don’t Punish or Shout: If your dog is refusing to drop an item, stay calm. Shouting or punishing could make your dog fearful and make it even more difficult for you to get it back.
  • Avoid Practicing Only When Needed: Regular practice is crucial for mastery. Don't wait until your dog picks up something dangerous to use the command.

How Long Does It Take To Teach Your Dog To Drop It?

Some dogs can learn this command in just a few minutes. Usually, it takes no more than one week of training for a dog to fully grasp this command and listen every time they hear it.

For a dog who is just starting out with basic training, it could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to reliably understand and respond to the "drop it" command.

Younger dogs or puppies, while they may be more eager to learn, can sometimes have shorter attention spans and thus might require more repetitions over a more extended period.

Consistency is key in training. Short, frequent training sessions (about 5-10 minutes each) a few times a day can be more effective than infrequent, longer sessions. It's also essential to continue reinforcing the command over time, even after your dog seems to have mastered it. Training should not be considered a one-time event but an ongoing process.