Dogs seem to love putting anything and everything in their mouths, and often they grab items that could be quite dangerous to their health. One training client of mine had a pup that loved to swipe kitchen knives off the counter and run around the yard with them. Yikes!
Drop It is one of the top 6 most important dog training commands that keep your dog safe, since you don't want your dog swallowing inappropriate items that could be toxic or cause an obstruction or internal tissue damage. It's also an important behavior to train because it can prevent resource guarding from developing, as well as help treat resource guarding behavior. (If your dog guards certain items from you, please contact a certified dog trainer or canine behavior consultant go begin a training program.)
I love training Drop It using play as the main reward, such as a game of tug, fetch, or chasing a flirt pole. This sets you and your dog up to not rely on food treats for such an important, and possibly life-saving, behavior. Using the game of tug to teach Drop It also helps your dog learn proper play manners and builds their impulse control. Plus, playing with your dog is an excellent way to build a stronger bond.
Drop It is used only when a dog already has something in their mouth that you need them to let go. If they haven't picked up an item yet, and you don't want them to, use the Leave It cue instead.
Read on to see how easy it is to teach your dog to drop things on cue.