How to Teach Your Dog the “Drop It” Command in 7 Steps

The “Drop It” command is one of the most important commands you can teach your furry friend. A command that will help you build a stronger bond and improve your dog’s behavior.

You can use the “Drop It” command to make your dog let go of things. It also allows you to tell your dog to not pick something up that they are interested in, such as your child’s toy, socks, or any of the many other things that may end up in his mouth.

This command can also keep your dog from eating something that could be toxic or cause an obstruction. You sure don’t want that to happen.

In the same way, we learn basic skills in our daily life, your dog needs to learn basic commands. This depends on you, his owner, to teach him things that will benefit both of you.

This will be helpful when trying to remove things like pieces of plastic, sharp objects, toys, and other objects that are dangerous to their health if your dog chews or swallows them.

How to Teach Your Dog to “Drop It”

First, the basics. Here’re a few things that you’ll need to teach your dog the “Drop It” command:

  • A Collar.
  • A 6-foot leash.
  • Small treats that are easy to chew and swallow.
  • A quiet area with no distractions to practice.
  • Your dog (of course!)
  • Patience.
  • Love.
  • Good sense of humor.

You may also need a clicker, but that depends on you.

What You Need to Know Before You Start the Training

Both dogs and humans have their own individual training needs and outcomes. A busy dog is more likely to be less conflictive than a dog that is bored.

Dogs are very active animals, eager to learn and absorb new things. A dog that is challenged and not overloaded learns quickly and enthusiastically. Like their owners, a dog is comfortable when they feel safe.

1. Keep Treats Out and Easily Available

This is one of the most resourceful tools you’ll have in order to control and make your dog obey your commands. You can also use the leash if your dog misbehaves.

Some dogs are very food-focused. Their attention will be on the treats once they see you have food. Once they see the treats, they wouldn’t be interested in anything else. To no distract them and keep them focused on the training, make sure you hide the treats and make them easily available.

A nice tip would be to keep the treats in your pocket. That way you can quickly reward your dog while keeping him focused on the training.

Note: A reward does not always have to be food. Depending on the dog, you can reward him with his favorite toys like balls, etc.

2. Keep Training Sessions Short

Training sessions should be short and optimistic. Approximately 5 minutes for each training session is sufficient. If your training sessions last too long, your dog may become frustrated and start making mistakes.

Depending on the dog, it’s better to spread the repetitions throughout the day instead of doing them all at once. Not every dog learn well with fixed trainings.

Do one set, and go about your business. Come back after a few minutes, then do another set. Ideally, you’ll want to come back when your dog has something low value in his mouth.

3. Master The Treat

To begin, take one of the treats you have in your hand and let your dog see it. As soon as he’s interested in the treat, give him the “Drop It” command and close your hand so he can’t get the treat.

At first, most dogs will stick their nose in your hands and possibly chew the fingers or use their paws to try to get to the treat.

As soon as your dog stops trying and starts moving away, congratulate it (or use the clicker) and reward him with a treat. This should be a different treat from the one when you told him to leave.

It’s crucial that you keep the treat covered at all times when you’re in the initial stages of this training. If you accidentally allow your dog to receive the treat before you click or praise him, he’ll try harder to get the treat next time.

A couple of mistakes won’t make a big difference. However, if your dog gets the treat a few times in each training session, it may take him longer to understand what “Drop It” means.

4. Increase Time and Distance

Once your dog constantly walks away from your hand, it can make things more difficult by increasing the time he waits for the treat.

First, you should give the treat to your dog as soon as he leaves your hand. You can slowly add a few seconds until you can spend several minutes while your dog patiently waits for his treat.

5. You Can Then Begin to Move the Treat

Place it on the floor a foot or two away from your dog. But keep your hand close enough to cover it in case your dog tries to grab it or get used to his leash in this case. Once your dog leaves the treat there constantly, you can bring it a little closer to it.

6. Keep It Constant and Short

After several training sessions, you can begin to take distance from the treat yourself. A good way to start this is to drop a treat on the floor while standing and give the “Drop It” command if your dog tries to get it.

Have one foot ready to cover the treat in case your dog throws himself at it. Slowly increase your distance over several training sessions. Soon you’ll be able to tell your dog to drop a treat on the floor when you’re across the room.

7. Practice With Other Items

Start the practice of the “Drop It” command with different objects. Place one of his toys near your furry friend and tell him to stop. As soon as he slightly comes back, praise him and give him a treat.

Keep practicing with other items. Soon your dog will learn to let go of any item when he hears the “Drop It” command.

Can We Train Adult Dogs to Drop It?

Absolutely, but it’ll be more difficult. It’s better to start the training when they’re six months old. The process will be much faster, as puppies are more active and love to learn new things.

Wrap Up

The “Drop It” command does not require much time, especially at the beginning. You need to be patient and take it one step at a time.

I hope this article has helped you to teach your dog how to “Drop It”. If so, please consider sharing this article with a friend.

We’d love to hear from you. For any concerns, suggestions, or tips, please comment in the section below.