The BIGGEST Mistake People Make When Teaching A Puppy To Drop Things

The BIGGEST Mistake People Make When Teaching A Puppy To Drop Things

November 25, 2019 33 By Stanley Isaacs


– Are you getting
frustrated with your puppy picking things up around the house and then not dropping them when asked? Does your puppy love playing with toys and maybe even playing fetch, but they don’t love the part where they give up that toy? In this video, I’m gonna tell you exactly how to teach your puppy to drop things on the first command, and I’m also gonna tell you a couple of the huge mistakes that people make when they’re teaching
their dog to drop things that make them forever dependent on food. We want your puppy to respond the first time, every time, and in this video, I’m gonna show you exactly how to do that. I’m Ken Steepe, and welcome
back to McCann Dogs. (bright guitar music) (dog barking) At our McCann Professional
Dog Trainers facility, we’ve helped more than 80,000 dog owners to overcome their dog training challenges, so if this is your first
time on the channel, make sure you hit that Subscribe button so that I can help you to have a well-behaved four-legged family member. Puppies explore the
world with their mouths, so it’s really important that you put a house line on your puppy when they have some freedom in your home, especially when you’re trying to work on some of these behaviors where you need your puppy
to relinquish an item. They’re gonna find that
thing really gratifying, so giving you that extra
little bit of control, using a house line, can be really, really powerful. Now, if you’re not sure
what a house line is, I’ll post a card to a video above where you can check out our video all about puppy house lines. You’re going to start this exercise with an interactive toy. Now, we’re teaching our
puppy to drop things, and regardless of what those things are, as our puppy’s learning this process, we wanna be able to have
a little bit more control. We’re not really teaching our puppy to specifically drop a ball or specifically drop a sock. We just want our puppy to learn exactly what to do every time they hear us say drop it. So I want you to choose something that is a little bit interactive. Maybe it’s a rope tug toy, maybe it’s a fabric Frisbee. It doesn’t really matter
what that thing is. However, I don’t want you to start with your puppy’s favorite toy. It’s going to make it a
little bit more challenging to convince them at first that it is a good idea to drop it and that whatever we’re
trading for is worth it. So pick something that’s of moderate value to your puppy, but make sure it’s
something that’s interactive and you can control, as well. You’re going to use a trade system to teach your puppy to drop things, and it’s going to rely on your timing, which we’ll talk about in just a moment. But I want you to find a food that your puppy really likes. Maybe it’s steak or cheese or chicken or something like that. I would probably, if you have a puppy who loves playing with toys, picking up things and holding onto them, I would probably start with one of these higher value foods. Avoid something like kibble at this point. You really want to get
your puppy into the habit of hearing that word and
then dropping that item, and using something that they really love, that’s really smelly, or they think tastes really good is a great way to do that. Practicing this exercise at a mealtime is also a really great way to increase the value of the food. Your puppy’s gonna be really excited ’cause they’re a little bit hungry about getting that food in exchange for dropping that toy. As with a lot of
exercises in dog training, timing’s really important for your puppy to learn this skill. A lot of people feel that
they become dependent on having a treat in their hand or having a cookie or a toy or something to trade for, and here’s exactly what’s happening. If you always have, your puppy knows that you
always have food in your hand before you say drop it and then you go to give them that reward, you’re starting to condition them that the only time they need to listen is when they see the food. They know that they won’t
have to give up something unless you go to the pantry and grab a cookie of theirs
and then say drop it. So here’s what I want you to focus on. Give that puppy one second between when you say drop it and
when you present the food, so it allows your puppy to
register that information. And then all of a sudden, by surprise, the food is presented. So you’re gonna think the
word then in your head. I want you to think drop it, then present the food. I love to use something like a bait pouch or maybe like a loose-fitting sweater or something that I can
kinda hide those treats in before presenting my puppy
with that food trade. But this is going to allow you to start to condition the puppy to respond to that word knowing that in one second, before them actually seeing the food, they’re going to drop it. So it’s going to be drop
it, then present the food. Training the skill this way keeps us from having to go get food and wave something really delicious, waving some steak bits in
front of our puppy’s face for them to release that item. It really trains your
puppy to hear that word and then one second later, respond. This is a really great opportunity for me to talk about
controlling that object or controlling that toy, whatever you’re using. This is why we wanna
use an interactive toy. Controlling that item is
going to be really important so that your puppy can’t decide to move a couple of feet away or maybe go hide behind the couch or not engage with you. It’s really important that you’re able to reinforce that command or reinforce that drop it
command for your puppy. So I want you to hold the toy, and here’s the key to holding the toy. I want you to hold it still. Puppies will find it really gratifying to play a game of tug with you, and it’s really important that you’re not accidentally
continuing the game of tug as you’re teaching your puppy to drop it. It’s just too much fun. Also a good idea to maybe
brace it on your leg, or if you’re sitting down, you can brace it on your knee. Whatever it is, take some
of the fun and excitement out of that toy by making it absolutely still before you ask your puppy to drop it. If you have a puppy who’s
completely committed to playing the game of tug even though you’ve braced that object or kept that item really, really still, you can always put your food away and gently take your puppy’s collar. You’re just gonna hang onto their collar and hold that toy still. They’re gonna figure out pretty quickly that this game isn’t fun anymore, and then they’ll release the object. So at that point, you can praise them and tell them what a
good job they’ve done, but do not feed them at this point. The next time you’re going
to try this exercise, I don’t want you to play
tug with them as long. Don’t give them that object item toy for as long a period of time because you know that when they reach that state of mind where this toy is just an absolute blast and they’re not interested in food, we don’t wanna get them
into that mental state yet. So I might give them that item again and very soon after, tell them drop it, present the food one second later, and see what sort of results you get. Depending on the puppy, you might need to reduce
the value of the toy. Maybe this toy is too great a challenge, or maybe you need to
find a better food trade. Maybe they don’t really
want cheese at this point but something like steak can
be a real advantage to you. But understanding what you’re
dog’s finding gratifying and understanding when they’ve reached that point of no return where they don’t want to
release that toy anymore is gonna be really
important for your training. After a few sessions of
your drop it training, you might start to see your puppy drop things really quickly. So if you say drop it and before you’ve even
gone into your bait pouch or gotten that food out, your puppy’s dropped that item, I want you to jackpot reward them. Really mark the moments where they’ve put in an extra effort, and really acknowledge the fact that they’re getting faster. You can start to differentiate
those great responses with the ones that are pretty good, so really highlight those
moments for your puppy when they’ve done a
really, really great job. Puppies can be really situational, so I want you to practice this exercise in different areas of your home, maybe outside versus inside. I want you to practice
it with different items. You know, at this point, I really want to reinforce the fact that
using an interactive toy, something like a rope tug
or a Frisbee or whatever is really advantageous
because we can control it, we can make it less fun if we need to. But keep in mind that practicing
it all over the house, practicing it outside with different items is going to very quickly transfer into your puppy understanding the word, the drop it command, versus dropping a Frisbee
when they come back each time. So every time, whether it’s
a sock or a tennis ball, doesn’t matter what the thing is, when your puppy hears drop it, they know exactly what to do. With repetition and some good timing, you’ll be able to level
up your drop it training, and if you’re ready for that, check out that video beside me. You’ll learn how to teach your dog to drop a ball directly
back into your hand. And if this is your first
time on the channel, make sure you hit that Subscribe button. We publish new videos every single week to help you to have a well-behaved four-legged family member. On that note, I’m Ken, happy training. (upbeat electronic music)