Teaching the Drop-it

Phil Guida

Teaching the Drop-it (“Out”) Command

Your dog must be taught to instantly drop whatever he is holding in his mouth.

  • This is a safety issue since your dog may pick up a dangerous or poisonous object.
  • It is a pack leadership issue since your dog should obey every command without hesitation.
  • It is a behavioral issue when used in conjunction with classical counter-conditioning, as it can help prevent and correct resource guarding.

Use the following methods to teach this command:

  1. Play the “2-Ball Game” with your dog, every day if possible, until he responds reliably to the command: Use 2 IDENTICAL balls – we recommend the Air Dog Squeaker Balls available at most pet supply stores. (They look like tennis balls but they have squeakers inside them.)  Throw the first ball. When your dog brings it to you, tease him with the other ball, squeak it, show him how much fun this other ball is! While doing this, give the verbal cue “OUT!” The instant he releases it say “Yes! OUT!” and immediately throw the other ball. Do not use food rewards for this exercise – the reward is the other ball being thrown. Repeat for as long as the game holds his interest.
  1. When your dog picks up a forbidden household item (e.g. shoe, child’s toy etc..) do not chase him around yelling at him. Instead, get close to him without making eye contact and when you are near enough, show him a food treat he can’t resist (e.g. a piece of hot dog). Offer him the treat while giving the verbal cue “out!” Use a happy, friendly tone – not scolding. When he releases the object say “Yes! OUT!” and give him the food treat. Then pick up the forbidden item.