Dogs navigate through this world relying on their keen sense of smell and feeling their way around with their mouths, particularly when they are puppies. We on the other hand do not and because of this difference, at times dogs can drive some of us crazy. Teach your puppy or older dog how to “drop it or give”.
It’s another invaluable cue that will be used often and will surely make your life and your dog’s a lot easier not to mention happier. Think of it as a way of asking your dog to “please hand over” whatever they have; whether it be good, bad or indifferent. This cue takes some time, consistency and particular strategy for it to be learned but like anything, it’s worth the effort.
Dogs try to avoid conflict at all costs despite what people think. We on the other hand typically impose dramatic or even harsh behaviors on dogs in countless situations but in particular when they take something that we either deem as inappropriate or worse, something dangerous. Wouldn’t it be nice to build a line of communication and have a dialog with our dogs?We can all talk to our dogs but we first need to listen to them.
Be proactive and have things for your dog that he/she CAN put his/her mouth on. I see if all the time, dogs are looking around the room to see what they can take and because they don’t have something worthwhile that’s theirs they take something that we don’t want them to.
SET your DOG up for SUCCESS not FAILURE
Make sure you are providing your dog with safe, smart and mentally stimulating toys – Stuffed Kong, Split Elk antler, Activity ball
Tidy up your rooms. Don’t expect a dog to leave valuables alone if there are things left out. So clean up.
Never reprimand your dog for “stealing” items. This will only reinforce the exact behavior you’re trying to curb.
Calmly redirect your dog when they put something in their mouth. Offer them appropriate toys and praise
Always, always, always have a higher value treat (HFT) option, preferable real food, for the item in their mouth
Make it fun! Teach your dog to relinquish everything. When they have their own toy in their mouth, place a treat up to their nose FIRST, then calmly and softly say “drop it” and slowly remove their toy. Do NOT grab the toy and then offer treat, that often backfires. Remember, show treat first, then give cue coupled with removal.
Give your dog high value treat (HVT) and then give them back their toy! That way they learn how to drop an item and get a primary as well as a secondary rewarded. Now that’s FUN for a dog!
Avoid the chase game. Once you start this your dog will quickly learn it’s a game of keep away. Dogs are faster than we are. Why go there.
Pick your battles. If your dog has a piece of toilet paper, leaves or grass, ignore them.