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How to teach your dog to let go

It can be very frustrating when your dog becomes in possession of an object, especially if it ends up in something dangerous and does not let go. Training your dog to release an object on command is important to keep your dog safe and prevent it from developing more aggressive protective behaviors such as protecting or biting. You can teach all dogs a new command, whether you have a new puppy or adopted an older dog. While some breeds will learn a little faster, with a little patience and consistent training, your dog will drop all objects as soon as you tell it!


[[[[Edit]Set up your training space

  1. Choose a quiet room that is free from distractions. You want your dog to focus entirely on his training, but loud noises and people walking around can be really distracting. Choose a room in your home where your dog cannot see other people and has no other distractions. Make sure that no one else enters the room while you are training so that your dog does not get overwhelmed.[1]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 1 version 4.jpg
    • For example, a bedroom, hallway or basement works well for exercise.
  2. Find a low-quality toy that your dog releases. Avoid choosing your dog’s favorite toy right away as it will work more protectively. Instead, choose another toy that your dog likes to chew on but does not play with as often. Try using something like a plastic chewie or a rope toy when you start exercising.[2]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 2 version 3.jpg
    • The toy you choose varies depending on what your dog likes to play with.
  3. Get a variety of high quality candies for your dog.[3] Dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, so rewarding them with a treatment while you exercise will help them learn the command. You can use packaged dog treats or pieces of chicken and cheese as a reward.[4] Try to have about 20-30 pieces for each workout to keep your dog interested.[5]
    Teach your dog to release the Step 3 version 3.jpg
    • Your dog can respond better to a toy with a higher value as a reward. Try using a raw skin bone or its favorite toy instead of a candy.
    • You can also try using your dog’s kibble as a reward, if you are worried about giving your dog too many treats.[6]
  4. Attach your dog on a leash so that you have better control over it. Get a leash and secure the end of your dog’s collar. Hold the leash throughout your workout so that your dog does not get lost or distracted while trying to teach it.[7]
    Teach your dog to release the Step 4 version 3.jpg

[[[[Edit]Teaching basic command

  1. Offer your dog his toy to chew on. Let your dog sit in front of you so that it is calm and ready to train. Hold the toy in front of your dog’s mouth. Wait until your dog gently takes the toy from your hand. Let the dog chew on the toy for a while so that it feels comfortable.[8]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 5 version 3.jpg
    • If your dog does not take or chew on the toy you chose, you may need to switch to something that your dog likes more, such as a tennis ball or a leg.
    • Do not let your dog snap on the toy. Only give the toy when your dog gently takes it from you.
  2. Hold a candy in front of your dog’s nose. First, store candy in your pocket or behind your back so that your dog is not drawn to it. When your dog starts chewing on the toy, take out one of the candies and hold it in his fist. Place your fist right in front of your dog’s nose so that it can smell.[9]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 6 version 3.jpg
    • Try to keep the rest of the candy hidden from your dog so that it does not become distracted while you train.
  3. Say a “drop it” command when your dog releases the toy. Choose a command that you will consistently use through training, such as “drop it”, “drop” or “give”. When your dog smells the treat, he should drop his toy so that he can eat. Just when the toy falls out of the dog’s mouth, say the command in a firm voice so that your dog learns it.[10]
    Teach your dog to release the Step 7 version 2.jpg
    • If you want to use a clicker for training, click on it as soon as your dog drops the toy.
    • If your dog does not let go of the toy, then try switching to a more valuable treatment that is more enticing and tasteful.
    • Make sure that everyone in your household uses the same command while you train, otherwise your dog will be confused and not listen as well.
  4. Give your dog candy and pick up the toy at the same time. Open your hand and let your dog eat candy so that he learns that he gets a reward when he releases something. When your dog takes candy, use your other hand to pick up the toy to make sure your dog does not protect it again.[11]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 8 version 2.jpg
    • Try to throw the treat on the floor nearby so that you have time to pick up the toy without your dog going after it at the same time.
  5. Praise your dog for helping to reinforce good behavior. While giving your dog candy, say something like “yes” or “good dog” in an excited voice so he knows he has done something good. Look your dog in the eye and pat him a lot to make the training a more positive experience.[12]
    Teach your dog to release the Step 9 version 3.jpg
    • Never shout or punish your dog if he does not listen because he becomes more afraid and does not learn proper behavior.
  6. Work with your dog for 5-10 minute sessions up to three times daily. Give the toy back to your dog so you can continue your training. Let your dog drop the toy 10-12 times before taking a break.[13] Place your workouts throughout the day so that your dog develops a better understanding of the command.[14]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 10 version 2.jpg
    • If your dog does not seem interested in training, wait until it is more calm or hungry.

[[[[Edit]Subsequent training

  1. Give candy when your dog releases the toy when it responds consistently. Say the command, but keep the candy in your pocket or behind your back. If your dog is still dropping the toy, then hold the candy in front of your mouth and praise it for listening and behaving.[15]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 11.jpg
    • In this way, your dog associates getting candy as a reward rather than being lured by it.
  2. Try to change the toy you are training with when your dog drops things on command. Your dog will get used to giving up the first toy you use, so switch to something your dog likes more, such as a bone, rawhide or a tennis ball. Continue to train the same way you have been and reward your dog. Keep cycling through the dog’s toys until you can make him drop the one he likes the most.[16]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 12.jpg
    • You may need to use a higher treatment to entice your dog to give up toys that he likes more.
  3. Practice in a more distracting area if your dog listens well in a quiet space. Try practicing the command in a room that is a little higher or outside so that your dog gets used to training with other sounds. Keep your dog on a leash and continue training in more populated areas so that your dog listens wherever you take it.[17]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 13.jpg
    • If your dog does not listen, take it back to a quieter place and continue training it there.
  4. Wean your dog from sweets when he listens 90-95% of the time.[18] When practicing and giving the command, present only one candy every third or fourth time they listen. Keep reducing the frequency of how often you give your dog candy until it responds without one.[19]
    Teach your dog to drop the step 14.jpg
    • Give the toy back to your dog directly instead of candy so that it still gets positive reinforcement.
    • You can also stop using a clicker at this time if you have trained with one.


  • Try using a clicker each time you say the command while training. In this way, your dog also associates the sound with dropping the object.[20]
  • Your dog may learn at a different pace than another dog. Just be consistent and be patient while exercising.


  • Do not take anything from your dog’s mouth as it reinforces bad behavior.[21]
  • If your dog clicks on you during training, throw the treat on the ground. If the behavior persists, you may need to see a veterinarian.[22]

[[[[Edit]Things you need

  • Couple
  • Treats
  • Dog toys

[[[[Edit]Related wikiHows

  • Train your dog for hunting
  • Learn your dog tricks
  • Teach a dog to crawl
  • Clicker Train your dog
  • Make a dog love you


[[[[Edit]Quick summary

  1. https://www.sfspca.org/sites/default/files/dog_commands_drop-it.pdf
  2. https://www.ddfl.org/resource/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it/
  3. [v161222_b01]. December 20, 2019.
  4. https://www.sfspca.org/sites/default/files/dog_commands_drop-it.pdf
  5. https://www.maddiesfund.org/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it.htm?p=topic1007
  6. https://youtu.be/ZGWV8s3uneU?t=90
  7. https://www.maddiesfund.org/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it.htm?p=topic1007
  8. https://www.ddfl.org/resource/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it/
  9. https://youtu.be/QlDipDt-Img?t=103
  10. https://www.sfspca.org/sites/default/files/dog_commands_drop-it.pdf
  11. https://www.ddfl.org/resource/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it/
  12. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/teach-your-puppy-these-5-basic-commands/
  13. https://www.ddfl.org/resource/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it/
  14. https://www.maddiesfund.org/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it.htm?p=topic1007
  15. https://www.maddiesfund.org/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it.htm?p=topic1007
  16. https://www.ddfl.org/resource/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it/
  17. https://www.maddiesfund.org/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it.htm?p=topic1007
  18. https://www.maddiesfund.org/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it.htm?p=topic1007
  19. https://www.ddfl.org/resource/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it/
  20. https://www.sfspca.org/sites/default/files/dog_commands_drop-it.pdf
  21. https://www.sfspca.org/sites/default/files/dog_commands_drop-it.pdf
  22. https://www.maddiesfund.org/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it.htm?p=topic1007

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