Perfect Puppy Training Book – Chapter 6 – Basic Commands (Part 7)
Chapter 6 – Basic Commands (Part 7)
Drop It and Take It
Even though you’ll teach your puppy to “leave it,” there are bound to be times when she’s so fast, she’ll grab something before you have a chance to get the right words out of your mouth. What if your puppy gets into the hamper and grabs a sock? What if she nabs your child’s toy and runs under the bed? Once she has an item in her mouth, it’s too late for “Leave it.” She already has it. This is where “Drop it” comes in; you want to teach her to spit items out if necessary. To teach a good “Drop it” cue, team it with “Take it.” Let’s cover the basics on teaching these commands:
- Get an item that your puppy will likely take in her mouth, think about buying a specific toy for this training exercise. Have some really good treats handy.
- Give the cue “
, take it!” (Use a friendly voice!) Offer the item to your puppy. When she takes it, mark “Yes!” You don’t have to give her a treat at this time because getting the item itself is a reward.
- Show your puppy the treat. Give the cue “Drop it!” Don’t use a threatening voice for this. You’re not trying to scare her, just teach her.
- Hold an open hand under your puppy’s mouth to catch the item. If your treat was tempting enough, she should drop the item to eat the treat. When she drops the item, mark “Yes!” and give her the treat. Praise her.
- You can gradually move your hand away so that your puppy has to move to put the item in your hand. If she drops the item, and it doesn’t land in your hand, just say “Take it” again. Hold your hand out toward her. Don’t mark “Yes” until the item lands in your hand. If she tries twice without success, you’re proceeding too fast for your puppy. Back up your training and use more gradual steps.
- Practice this exercise every day. It could save your puppy’s life!
Troubleshooting: What if your puppy won’t give up the item? You need a different combination—an item she finds of lesser value and a treat she finds of higher value. It may take you a few tries to find the right match, but you can do it.
Troubleshooting: What if your puppy growls when you try this exercise? If she constantly growls over her toys, bones, or other items, you should seek the assistance of a professional reward-based trainer. This problem is called resource guarding, and it must be addressed early before it gets worse. Your puppy must learn that you control all the items in her world.
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