How To Teach A Dog To Drop It: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Training a dog to “drop it” is a fundamental aspect of their obedience training. It is essential to teach your dog this command because it can prevent them from chewing or swallowing dangerous items. Knowing how to teach a dog to drop it can save both the pup and its owner. When a dog picks up something it shouldn’t, such as a harmful substance or a valuable item, the “drop it” command can ensure the safety of the dog and prevent costly damages. By following proper training techniques and positive reinforcement, any dog can be taught to drop it on command, making it a crucial part of their behavior training.

In addition to its practical benefits, teaching your dog to “drop it” can also strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion. It helps you and your dog communicate and builds trust and regard. It also promotes good behavior and obedience, which can make for a happier and healthier pet-owner relationship. We’ll show you how to teach your dog to drop it and enjoy the advantages in this article.

Table of Contents

Understanding What “Drop It” Means

Drop it is a common command used in dog training to instruct a dog to release an object from their mouth or paws. It is an important behavior to teach dogs as it can help prevent them from ingesting dangerous items or harmful substances, and it can also promote safety and prevent aggression in certain situations.

For their own and others’ safety, dogs must be taught the “drop it” command. When a dog learns to release an object on command, it allows their owner to quickly remove potential hazards or prevent unwanted behavior, such as chewing or biting.

In addition to promoting safety, teaching a dog to “drop it” can also strengthen the bond between owner and pet. It encourages trust and communication, and it can be a fun and engaging activity for both dog and owner.

Knowing “drop it” and the value of teaching a dog to react to this command can improve the dog’s health, safety, and pleasure as well as the owner’s.

Why You Should Teach “Drop It”

There are many reasons why it is important to teach your dog to “drop it.”

Prevent Injuries and Accidents

It can prevent injuries and accidents. Dogs can sometimes pick up dangerous objects, such as broken glass or sharp objects, that could cause harm to them or those around them. By teaching them to drop objects on command, you can quickly and safely remove these items from their mouth.

Prevent Destruction of Property

Teaching your dog to drop objects can prevent destruction of property. Dogs love to chew on things, and sometimes they may pick up items that are valuable or irreplaceable. By teaching them to drop things on command, you can save your belongings from being destroyed.

Ensure Proper Behavior in Public Places

Having a dog that knows how to drop objects on command can ensure proper behavior in public places. Dogs that are trained to drop items on command are less likely to cause disruptions in public places such as parks or streets. They will also be less likely to approach strangers or their dogs with harmful objects in their mouth.

Basic Training Techniques

Start with Basic Commands

When training a dog to “drop it”, it is important to start with basic commands. Start in a calm area or garden to avoid disruptions. Control your dog’s moves with a leash and keep them in the exercise area. Hold a treat in one hand, and the object you want your dog to drop in the other. This will encourage your dog to release the object in exchange for the treat.

Remember to use a friendly and encouraging tone to help your dog feel comfortable and confident during the training process. With consistency and patience, your dog will begin to understand and respond to the “drop it” command.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a key aspect of training your dog to drop it. You can use verbal praise and petting to reward your dog for following the command. This will help your dog associate the behavior with positive outcomes, and increase their likelihood of complying in the future.

Another effective tool for positive reinforcement is a clicker. Clickers are inexpensive and easy to use, and they can help mark the exact moment when your dog performs the desired behavior. This helps you encourage the behavior and teach your pup what you expect. Introduce new objects or diversions to make the job harder as your dog gets used to it.

Practice in Different Environments

Practicing the “drop it” command in different environments is an important aspect of ensuring that your dog truly understands the command. This means practicing in various settings such as at home, in the park, or during walks.

By doing this, you can help your dog generalize the behavior and understand that it applies in different situations.

Advanced Training Techniques

Introduce Distractions

To take your dog’s “drop it” training to the next level, you can start introducing distractions during the training sessions. The purpose of this is to teach your dog to drop any object, no matter the circumstances.

You can use various objects to distract your dog during the training, such as toys or treats. Start by holding the object your dog is supposed to drop and then introduce a second object to the training environment.

Carefully expand the space between you and your pup as they become more familiar with the training. For instance, you can start training your dog to “drop it” while you’re across the room, and eventually progress to different rooms in your house or outside.

To make training harder, exercise in parks, streets, and other public areas. This will help your dog generalize the behavior and learn to “drop it” in any situation. Remember to always use positive reinforcement, consistency, and patience throughout the advanced training process. With time and practice, your dog will become a pro at dropping objects on command, even in the presence of distractions.

Play the “Trade” Game

One of the advanced training techniques for teaching your dog to drop objects is to play the “trade” game. The objective of this game is to encourage your dog to voluntarily release an object in exchange for a reward.

Start by giving your pup a toy and telling them to drop it. Once they release the object, reward them with a high-value treat or toy. As your dog becomes more proficient at dropping objects, gradually increase the value of the objects they are asked to release.

This game not only reinforces the “drop it” command, but it also teaches your dog the concept of voluntary exchange, which can be useful in other training situations.

Always make sure to keep the game fun and rewarding for your dog, and never force them to drop an object or take away something they value without offering an exchange.

Use a Tug Toy

To start this technique, begin by using a tug toy as a reward for dropping the object. When the dog drops the object, offer the tug toy as a reward. This teaches the dog that dropping the object leads to a fun and interactive reward. Gradually decrease the amount of playtime with the toy and use it only as a reward for the “drop it” command.

It’s essential to remember that the pup shouldn’t always play with the tug toy. Only use it during teaching and as a treat for good behavior. A different prize should be used if a pup doesn’t like tug toys.

Using a tug toy as a reward for dropping the object can be a fun and effective advanced training technique for teaching dogs to obey the “drop it” command. However, it must be used properly and not overplayed. Discipline and care are essential to training.

How To Teach A Dog To Drop It

Training a dog to “drop it” is an important behavior for their safety and the safety of others. Whether it’s dropping a toy, object or something harmful they have picked up, this command can prevent accidents and injuries. The process of training your dog to “drop it” can be broken down into simple steps.

Start by giving your pup a toy or object they like. Once they have it in their mouth, hold out a treat in front of their nose. As they drop the toy to get the treat, say “drop it” and give them the reward. This process should be repeated several times to reinforce the behavior.

Next, introduce the “leave it” command to encourage your dog to leave the object alone in the first place. Offer your dog a toy or object and urge them to “leave it” while they’re gazing at it. Once they turn away from the object, offer them a different toy or treat as a reward.

During training sessions, it’s important to use high-value treats and toys to keep your dog interested and motivated. Consistency and patience are also key factors in teaching this behavior. As your dog becomes more comfortable with the “drop it” command, gradually increase the difficulty level by using objects with higher value or adding distractions.

Positive reinforcement is essential when training your dog to “drop it”. Rewarding good behavior with treats and praise will help reinforce the desired behavior. With patience and persistence, your dog will learn this important behavior, and it will become a natural response in different situations.

To see more commands read more here:

Dog Training Commands List – 22 Commands Basic to Advanced

Step-by-step to Teach A Dog “Drop It” With a Toy

Some dogs may prefer toys to food and therefore will not drop their favorites in exchange for a food reward. In this case, you will need to use another toy to attract them, and when they drop it, praise and reward them with the new toy. Treats, praise, and fun should all be incorporated as rewards for a successful release. Turn “Drop It” into a fun game to ensure your dog succeeds.

training dogs drop it
Use the toy to train your dog to drop it

Step 1: Teach your dog to swap between two toys

In this method, you need to use two similar toys or items that your dog loves, and the goal is that your dog will want to trade something significant in exchange for anything that it has in its mouth. Throw one of the toys for them to fetch, when they return, get their attention with a second toy and play with it enthusiastically. You must show them how interesting the second toy is. Please be patient and try not to lose your enthusiasm.

Step 2: Make sure the dog finds the second toy equally enjoyable

It may take a long time for the dog to drop the first toy but as soon as the toy falls out of her mouth, mark that behavior and say: “Drop it” and give him the second toy as a reward. Then, play with the second toy and ensure they’re just as excited as the first.

Step 3: Repeat the swapping of the toys

While your dog is playing with the second toy, use the first to engage them and repeat the process. After the training, your dogs will automatically release the toy they are holding in their mouth when you give them the other toy. If your dog enjoys a game of tug of war, you can do this instead with suitable toys and follow the same steps.

Step 4: Add verbal cues associated with their behavior

When your dog frequently drops items when presented with another toy, you can now introduce additional verbal cues: “drop.” Command clearly and unequivocally. To get started, practice as before and say “drop” when your dog lets go of the toy. Do this repeatedly until your dog immediately lets go of the toy when they hear the word “drop.” Now you can move on to asking them to “drop” the toy without a reward. Always give them praise if they do it right.

Step-by-step to Train A Dog “Drop It” Using Food or Treat

Step 1: The food reward will motivate the dog to understand the drop command

To get started, issue a “drop” command once and place the treat on the floor for your dog. After your dog has finished eating and interacted with you again, repeat this. Practice this behavior 5 to 10 times for a few short practice sessions. Once your dog starts foraging on the floor, as soon as they hear the word “drop,” you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Encourage your dog to exchange toys into food

This method will be more straightforward if you use a toy that is not their favorite, so they are likely to drop it. Encourage your dog to play with the toy for a few seconds, then use the cue word “drop” and place the food on the floor. You can quickly try and take toys from them, but your dog’s best bet needs to be motivated to swap their positions on his own. Again, practice this move for a couple of short sessions, with at least ten repetitions each.

Step 3: Wait for the dog to drop the toy before awarding them food

Repeat the training process, but this time wait for the dog to drop the toy on its own before you put the food on the floor. When your dog repeatedly drops a toy before you give it food, try doing it with a toy that your dog likes a little more. Keep practicing until puppies are adept at dropping it when you tell them to.

If your dog doesn’t drop the toy, don’t try to get it back from them. Instead, remain calm and try to distract your dog with the treat. You will probably be disappointed that the pups don’t follow the commands correctly, but your dog may need a break, or you may have taught too quickly for them to understand. Relaxing and doing it again from the beginning at another suitable time.

Problems and Proofing Behavior

teaching puppies drop it
The dog gnaws a dead animal in its mouth, which is dangerous for him

Puppies explore the world with their mouths. Sometimes our puppies pick up toxic things like dead animals and garbage, or they chew our shoes, etc. Therefore, teaching your dog the “Drop it” command is essential at this time. The main purpose of this command is to teach your hairy friend to drop anything from his mouth that they should not.

Moreover, this behavior can sometimes save a dog’s life if they stick their teeth into something dangerous or rough. A short period for your dog to learn the “drop it” command. However, some dogs can be distracted and confused by what you teach them, so be patient to be successful.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

When a dog becomes possessive over a toy or object, making it difficult for them to release it upon command. In this case, using high-value food as a prize for releasing the object and steadily increasing the space between the dog and the object will help them release it.

When a dog becomes distracted by their surroundings during training sessions. To overcome this, it’s recommended to start training in a quiet, distraction-free environment and gradually introduce distractions over time. Consistent and patient training sessions are also key to success, as dogs need time to learn and retain new behaviors.

Some dogs are defiant or averse to training, but this is normal. Positive reinforcement and rewards should always be used to encourage desired behavior, and training sessions should be kept short and frequent to prevent burnout. Ultimately, with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, any dog can learn to “drop it” reliably on command.

When your dog won’t let go of an item, whether it’s a toy or something they shouldn’t have taken up, it can be frustrating. Avoid forcing the item out of your dog’s jaws, as this can lead to violent behavior. Instead, swap your pup for a more desirable item or gift.

If your pup becomes afraid or hostile when you try to take an object, you may face another challenge. In this case, proceed with care and avoid abrupt moves that may frighten your pup. A expert teacher may help you overcome this habit.

When your dog drops the object but immediately picks it up again. To overcome this, practice the “drop it” command in a distraction-free environment, gradually increasing the level of distraction over time. You can also try teaching your dog to “leave it” in addition to “drop it,” which will teach them to ignore the object altogether.

Practicing and Reinforcing the “Drop It” Command

Practicing and reinforcing the “drop it” command is crucial for ensuring your dog’s safety and obedience. It’s important to regularly practice the command in a variety of settings to help your dog understand its importance. You can start by using toys and treats during training sessions to get your dog familiar with the command. After your pup masters the order in a controlled setting, practice in more difficult scenarios.

Reinforcing the “drop it” command in everyday situations can help solidify your dog’s understanding of the command. You can use the command when your pup takes up something they shouldn’t, like food or a dangerous item. It’s important to use positive reinforcement and rewards when your dog responds correctly to the command, such as giving them a treat or verbal praise.

The “drop it” command may be needed when your dog takes up another dog’s toy or has something harmful in their teeth. By regularly practicing and reinforcing the command, you can help ensure your dog’s safety and improve their obedience. Remember to always use positive reinforcement and consistency in your training approach.

What to Avoid When Teaching the “Drop It” Cue

how to teach your puppy drop it
Chasing the dog is one of avoiding things in the process of training them to drop it

In any skill to teach your dog, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to avoid getting caught. Here are some notes to avoid when training your dog to drop it.

Don’t Raise Your Voice or Scold

Don’t sound harsh or yell at them loudly. Using extreme gestures as a threat to the dog reduces the effectiveness of the training process. Worse, it only teaches your dog to run away from you with something in its mouth. We want to teach our dogs that “dropping” something out of their mouth is equivalent to getting something better, turning it into something they want to do.

Don’t Chase Your Dog

Chasing is almost a game that any dog ​​loves, and he becomes extremely excited every time he has the opportunity to participate. There is no better time for them to run away from you than when they have a valuable item in their mouth that they want to hide. Chasing your dog will only encourage them to run away, and it is unlikely they will drop the item.


To secure their safety and well-being, teach your pup to “drop it.” Owners can teach their dogs to comprehend this command by following a step-by-step plan and using positive reinforcement and prizes. Owners must be consistent and patient when teaching this habit. Finding and conquering common obstacles will also make training more effective. Dogs can learn to drop goods on command with exercise, giving owners more control and peace of mind.

FAQs about How To Teach A Dog To Drop It

What is the hardest trick to teach your dog?

The hardest trick to teach your dog can vary based on their breed, personality, and individual learning capabilities. However, some common challenging tricks include teaching your dog to roll over, play dead, or crawl.

How do you teach your dog drop it for Fetch?

Hold a toy or ball and say “drop it” while giving a treat to train your dog to “drop it” during a game of catch. When your dog drops the toy, reward them with the treat and praise. Repeat this process several times until your dog understands the command and starts to drop the toy on their own. Gradually phase out the treats and use only praise and affection as a reward.

How do I make my dog drop something bad?

To make your dog drop something bad, use a firm and authoritative voice to say “drop it” or “leave it.” Offer your dog a treat or toy as a positive reinforcement when they comply. If your dog refuses to drop the item, gently take it from them and offer a more desirable item as a replacement.

Why won’t my dog drop the ball?

There could be several reasons why your dog won’t drop the ball. One reason could be that they are possessive or protective of the ball. To address this, try playing fetch with two balls, so your dog drops the first ball to retrieve the second. Another reason could be that your dog hasn’t been trained to drop the ball on command. Use positive reinforcement techniques to teach your dog to “drop it” during a game of fetch.

How do I teach my dog to “drop it” while on a walk?

To teach your dog to “drop it” while on a walk, start by carrying treats or a toy in your pocket. When your dog picks up something they shouldn’t, say “drop it” and offer the treat or toy as a trade. Reward your dog with praise and affection when they comply. With practice, your dog will learn to drop items on command while on a walk.

What is the best way to teach a dog to drop it?

The best way to teach a dog to “drop it” is to start with a high-value item like a toy or treat, say “drop it” in a firm but gentle voice, and offer a more desirable item as a reward. Repeat this process several times until your dog starts dropping the item on their own. Gradually introduce the “drop it” command during a game of fetch or when your dog has something they shouldn’t.

What if my dog doesn’t want to drop his toy?

If your dog doesn’t want to drop their toy, try playing fetch with two toys or balls. When your dog picks up the second toy, say “drop it” while holding the first toy. Your dog should drop the second toy to retrieve the first. Praise and reward your dog for dropping the toy.

How can I get my dog to drop his toy when I ask him to?

To get your dog to drop their toy when you ask, start by teaching them the “drop it” command using positive reinforcement techniques. Use a high-value item like a toy or treat and gradually introduce the command during a game of fetch. When your dog drops the item, praise and reward them. With practice, your dog will learn to drop their toy on command.