How to Teach a Dog to Drop it? Everything You Need to Know

“Drop It” is one of the topmost necessary dog training commands to keep your dog safe. You don’t want your dog to swallow the wrong items that could be toxic or cause internal tissue damage. It is also necessary to teach this command to prevent, manage and treat resource guarding behavior. If your dog protects certain items from you, please contact a certified dog trainer or canine behavior consultant to begin a training program.

Dogs put anything and everything they love in their mouths and often grab items that could be quite harmful to their health. For example, a pup loves to grab a meat bone on the road during a walk or swipe kitchen knives off the counter and run around the house with them. 

You can train any dog with a new command, whether you have a new puppy or adopted an older dog. While some dogs will learn a little quicker, with a bit of patience and consistent training, your dog will drop any item as soon as you command.

Steps to Teaching a Dog to Drop It

One of the best things about training a dog to drop is that it is playful. Teaching your dog to “drop it” means training him to let go of whatever is in its mouth when given a command. This command is essential to teach your dog. It can protect your dog when he has something harmful in his mouth, plus it allows you and your canine to play games like fetch and tug-of-war safely. It takes significantly less time to teach most dogs the release command “drop it.” However, some dogs can become distracted quickly, so be patient and consistent during training. 

What Equipment is Required to Teach Your Dog To “DROP IT”?

Dog Treats

Dog Treats
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Dog Treats
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Dog Toys

Dog Toys
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Dog Toys
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Teach Your Dog To “DROP IT” – Using Treats

Start by teaching your puppy the word “drop.” You can do this by creating a positive association with the word.

Here’s the step-by-step guide on teaching your dog to “drop it.” 

Step 1: Show Your Dog That The Word “DROP” Earns Them a Treat

First, say the command “drop” once and put a small portion of your dog’s food on the floor. Then, do this again once your dog has finished eating and looks back at you for more. Practice this ten more times over a few short sessions. Once your canine begins to look for the food on the floor, as soon as they hear the command “drop,” you’re ready to move on.

Step 2: Encourage Your Dog To Swap a Toy For Food

Now it’s time to introduce some toys to your dog. Using a toy that’s not their favorite will be more comfortable as they’ll be more likely to release it. Motivate your furry friend to play with the toy for a few moments, then use your command “drop” and put a handful of food on the floor. Your dog needs to be encouraged to swap it on its own. Again, practice this over a few sessions, with at least ten repetitions per session.

Step 3: Wait For Your Dog To Drop The Toy Before Rewarding Them With Treats

Repeat this process several times, but this time wait for your dog to drop the toy before placing the food on the floor. Once your canine is consistently dropping the toy before you offer them food, try doing it with a toy they like the most. Then, continue doing the same until you have built up to using their favorite toy, and they will successfully drop it when commanded.

If your dog doesn’t drop the toy by itself, don’t force and take it from them. Instead, try to distract your dog with treats. If this is necessary, your canine might need a short break, or you may have moved on too quickly. Go back through the steps mentioned above as far as you need to and try again at a later stage.

Teach Your Dog To “DROP IT” – Using Toys

Some dogs prefer toys to food and hence are unlikely to drop them in exchange for a treat. You might need to trade one toy for another if this is the case with your dog. This is an excellent exercise for dogs who like to run away with toys. Your canine will eventually learn that the toy’s much less fun without you, so you will be more likely to bring them back.

Step 1: Swap Between Two Toys

You can start with two toys that are either the same or which your dog loves the same. Throw one of the toys for your dog to fetch. When they return to you, show him the second toy and play with it enthusiastically. It’s important to show your dog how exciting and fun-filled the second toy is so that he wants to drop the one he has. You might need to be patient but try not to lose your confidence.

Step 2: Ensure Your Dog Finds The Second Toy Just as Rewarding as the First One

Wait for dogs to drop the first toy, but when they do, mark them or react to the action with a ‘Yes’ word. As soon as you do this, play with them using the second toy, and ensure they’re having as much fun as with the first toy.

Step 3: Swap The Second For The First (And Repeat)

While your dog plays with the second toy, pick up the first one and repeat the same. With practice, your dog will begin to instantly drop the first toy when you offer them the second one. If your canine prefers a game of tug, you can do this instead, with two similar toys, following the same steps.

Step 4: Train Your Dog To Associate The Command “DROP” With Dropping A Toy

Once your dog is dropping the first toy consistently, you can introduce your command, “drop.” To start, practice as before, and say the word “drop” as your dog lets go of the toy. Continue this, and when your dog is immediately letting go of the toy when they hear the command “drop,” you can move on to asking them to “drop” the first toy without using a second one.

Ensure that when your dog does respond to your command and drops the toy, they are always rewarded.

Pro Tips

  • Use a clicker whenever you pass commands while training your pets. In this way, he will connect the sound with the dropping command.
  • Do not forcefully take things from your dog’s mouth. Each dog learns at a different speed, so be consistent and patient while training your dog. 
  • Suppose your dog barks at you during training sessions. In that case, throw the treats on the ground to let him drop the object held in his mouth. If he continues barking, consult a vet.


Teach your dog to “drop-it” in ONE easy step!

Teach a Dog to Drop It – Get polite mouth control with Tug

Easily Teach Your Dog The Drop It Command.

Teach your dog to DROP – Dog Training by Kikopup

Final Thoughts

Now that your furry friend understands the “drop it” command, anytime they have something they shouldn’t have in their mouths, ask them to drop the item, then reward them with a treat or a toy or chew bone. If you practice enough, your dog will happily drop the forbidden item to trade for something better. 

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