Every dog owner needs to teach their dog a relinquish cue. Whether you use “Drop It”, “Give”, or “Leave It”, this is one of the most important behaviors your dog should know. In case your pet encounters something that may be dangerous to them, having a "Drop It" cue could actually save our dog's life.
It’s easiest to start teaching a puppy “Drop It” but most every dog can learn this cue if you are patient and consistent. You’ll want to keep your training sessions short and sweet. Practice each day for about five minutes at a time starting with low value items. You’ll need lots of yummy Dog Treats, and of course a dependable Dog Collar and Leash for your dog.
With your dog on a leash, give her an item to investigate. Make sure you begin with a low value item to start. If your dog loves socks, start with something a little less exciting like a T-shirt. Place the object on the floor in front of your dog and allow her to check it out. While she’s engaged with the object say your dog’s name and then “Drop It” (or whatever your relinquish cue will be) and as soon as your dog looks at you say “Yes!” or indicate with your clicker and give her lots of treats. If your dog has a hard time relinquishing the object, use your leash to gently move her away from the object and then reinforce her. Repeat this exercise several times each day.
When your dog is responding consistently to the “Drop It” cue with low value items, begin challenging her with different objects. You’ll find that your dog will have a harder time with some objects than others. When you identify what objects are of high value to your dog spend lots of time working the relinquish cue. Don’t be afraid to use your leash to move your dog away from the object, but be sure your movements are smooth and gentle and ALWAYS reinforce your dog when she responds correctly.
As your “Drop It” training progresses, practice in different locations. Ideally, you want your dog to be able to drop a chicken bone she finds in the alley without hesitiation. But remember, this takes lots of practice, so always be patient with your precious pet. With plenty of Positive Reinforcement, patience and love, your pet will master the "Drop It" cue like a pro.
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