How Can I Get My Puppy To Drop Items On Command?

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You’re a new puppy owner, and while your little furry friend is adorable, they have a tendency to grab and hold onto anything they can find. Whether it’s your favorite pair of socks or a chew toy, getting them to let go can be a challenge. In this article, we’ll explore some effective techniques and tips to teach your puppy to drop items on command. With a bit of patience and consistency, you’ll soon have a well-behaved pup who knows when it’s time to release their hold.

How Can I Get My Puppy To Drop Items On Command?

Understanding the Importance of Teaching Your Puppy to Drop Items

The benefits of teaching your puppy to drop items

Teaching your puppy to drop items is not just a convenient command; it is an essential skill that can benefit both you and your furry friend in various ways. Firstly, it promotes safety by preventing your puppy from ingesting harmful objects or substances. Additionally, a puppy that knows how to drop items on command is less likely to exhibit resource guarding behavior, which can help maintain a harmonious household environment. Moreover, teaching your puppy to drop items fosters good manners and obedience, making them a more well-rounded and socially acceptable companion.

Common challenges when teaching your puppy to drop items

While teaching your puppy to drop items may seem straightforward, it can sometimes present certain challenges. One common challenge is a puppy’s natural desire to hold onto objects. Puppies often see their toys and belongings as treasures and can become possessive. Another challenge is maintaining focus and obedience amidst distractions. Puppies can easily get sidetracked by other stimuli, making it difficult for them to let go of their current object. Overcoming these challenges requires patience, consistency, and the right training techniques.

Creating a Positive Training Environment

Establishing trust and a strong bond

Creating a positive training environment starts with building trust and establishing a strong bond with your puppy. This involves providing a nurturing and loving atmosphere where your furry companion feels safe and secure. Spend quality time with your puppy, engage in play, and offer plenty of positive reinforcement. By fostering trust and a strong bond, your puppy will be more receptive to learning and following your commands.

Using positive reinforcement techniques

Positive reinforcement is a highly effective and humane training technique that relies on rewarding desired behaviors. When teaching your puppy to drop items, it is important to use positive reinforcement to encourage the desired behavior of releasing the object. Offer praise, treats, or a favorite toy as a reward when your puppy successfully drops an item on command. This positive association reinforces the behavior and encourages them to repeat it in the future.

How Can I Get My Puppy To Drop Items On Command?

Basic Commands for Puppy Training


The “sit” command is one of the most fundamental commands for puppy training. It not only establishes your role as the leader but also helps your puppy learn impulse control. To teach your puppy to sit, hold a treat close to their nose and slowly move it upward. As their head moves up, their bottom should naturally lower into a sitting position. Once they are in a sitting position, reward them with the treat and praise them.


The “stay” command is vital for ensuring your puppy’s safety and teaching them self-control. Start by instructing your puppy to “sit.” Then, with a flat palm facing them, give the verbal cue “stay” while taking a small step backward. If your puppy remains in the sitting position, reward them with a treat and praise. Gradually increase the distance and duration of the “stay” command, always rewarding them for a successful stay.

Lie Down

The “lie down” command is beneficial for calming an excited puppy and teaching them to settle in a specific spot. Begin by instructing your puppy to “sit.” Hold a treat close to their nose and slowly lower it to the ground, towards their paws. As your puppy follows the treat with their nose, their body should naturally lower into a lying position. Once they lie down, reward them with the treat and praise.


The “come” command is essential for ensuring your puppy’s safety and maintaining control in various situations. Start by getting down to their level and using an excited tone of voice. With open arms, call their name followed by the command “come.” If they respond and approach you, reward them with treats and praise. Gradually increase the distance and distractions, ensuring that they come to you reliably in different environments.

Introducing the ‘Drop It’ Command

Choosing a consistent verbal cue

When introducing the “drop it” command, it is crucial to choose a consistent and easily distinguishable verbal cue. A simple and commonly used cue is saying “drop it” in a firm yet calm tone. Avoid using words or phrases that may confuse your puppy or be easily mistaken for other commands. By consistently using the same verbal cue, your puppy will quickly associate it with releasing the object.

Using hand signals for reinforced understanding

In addition to a verbal cue, incorporating hand signals can further reinforce your puppy’s understanding of the “drop it” command. Designate a specific hand signal, such as an open palm facing towards your puppy, to accompany the verbal cue. Pairing the hand signal with the verbal cue consistently during training sessions helps your puppy associate the visual cue with the desired action.

How Can I Get My Puppy To Drop Items On Command?

Step-by-Step Training Process

Start with a toy or object of interest

Begin the training process by selecting a toy or object that your puppy finds particularly enticing. This could be a favorite chew toy or something they enjoy playing with. Allow your puppy to hold the item and engage in play for a brief period.

Teaching ‘Take It’ as a precursor

Before teaching the “drop it” command, it is essential to teach your puppy the “take it” command. Offer the toy to your puppy, encouraging them to grasp it with their mouth. As they grab onto the toy, use the verbal cue “take it” and reward them with praise or a treat. By associating the verbal cue with grasping the object, your puppy will understand the connection between the command and action.

Rewarding your puppy for releasing the object

Once your puppy has grasped the “take it” command, it is time to introduce the “drop it” command. In a calm yet authoritative tone, give the verbal cue “drop it” while presenting a treat. As your puppy releases the object, reward them with the treat and praise. Repeat this process, gradually reducing the number of treats given, until your puppy consistently responds to the “drop it” command.

Building on the Foundation: Adding Distractions

Gradually introducing distractions during training

As your puppy becomes proficient in the “drop it” command, it is crucial to introduce distractions to further solidify their understanding. Start by adding mild distractions, such as a toy rolling nearby or a family member walking past. If your puppy remains focused and releases the object upon command, reward them with praise and a treat. Gradually increase the level of distractions over time to ensure their responsiveness in various situations.

Maintaining patience and consistency

Adding distractions during training can be challenging for both you and your puppy. It is important to maintain patience and consistency throughout the process. Be prepared for setbacks and understand that progress may be slower with increased distractions. Consistently reinforce the training exercises, providing rewards and praise for successful responses. With time and practice, your puppy will become adept at releasing objects even in the presence of distractions.

How Can I Get My Puppy To Drop Items On Command?

Troubleshooting Common Challenges

Puppy’s reluctance to release the object

If your puppy seems reluctant to release the object, it may be due to their natural instinct to hold onto prized possessions. In such cases, it is important to avoid forcibly removing the object from their mouth, as it can create a negative association. Instead, try using the “trade” or “swap” method. Offer a higher value treat or toy as an enticing trade for the item in their mouth. This method encourages your puppy to willingly release the object in exchange for a reward.

Overexcitement during training sessions

Some puppies may become overexcited during training sessions, making it challenging for them to focus and obey commands. To combat this, ensure that training sessions are kept short and engaging. Break the training into shorter sessions throughout the day, incorporating play and other rewards. By providing mental and physical stimulation before training, you can help your puppy expend excess energy and improve their ability to concentrate.

Alternative Techniques and Tools

Using ‘Trade’ or ‘Swap’ methods

As mentioned earlier, the “trade” or “swap” method is an effective alternative technique for encouraging a puppy to release an object. By offering a more enticing item in exchange, your puppy will learn that releasing an object leads to a reward, making them more willing to drop items on command. This technique can be particularly useful for puppies prone to resource guarding or possessiveness.

Utilizing treat-based training aids

In addition to verbal cues and hand signals, utilizing treat-based training aids can assist in teaching your puppy to drop items. Treat pouches or treat-dispensing toys can be used to reinforce the “drop it” command during training sessions. Hide treats inside these aids and give your puppy the command to drop the item. As they release the object, reward them by dispensing a treat from the pouch or toy. This adds an extra layer of reinforcement to the training process.

Socialization and Obedience Training

The importance of socialization for successful training

Socialization plays a vital role in the overall success of your puppy’s training, including drop item training. Introducing your puppy to various people, animals, and environments from an early age helps them become well-adjusted and confident. Socialization experiences also expose them to distractions, which can be incorporated into training sessions. The more comfortable your puppy is in different situations, the more likely they will be to respond to your commands, including dropping items when requested.

Incorporating drop item training into overall obedience training

Drop item training should be seamlessly integrated into your puppy’s overall obedience training. By incorporating the “drop it” command into daily exercises, such as sit, stay, and come, you reinforce good manners and obedience. For example, when practicing the “come” command, instruct your puppy to drop any objects they may be holding before approaching you. This helps solidify the importance of releasing items on command and ensures a consistent response across different training scenarios.

Consistency and Reinforcement

Repeating the training exercises regularly

To achieve long-term success in teaching your puppy to drop items, it is crucial to repeat the training exercises regularly. Daily practice helps reinforce the desired behavior and ensures your puppy retains the skills over time. Incorporate short training sessions into your daily routine, and consistently reinforce the “drop it” command throughout the day. By consistently practicing and repeating the exercises, your puppy will develop a strong understanding of the command.

Reinforcing the ‘drop it’ command in real-life scenarios

The ultimate goal of training your puppy to drop items is for them to respond reliably in real-life scenarios. As your puppy becomes proficient in the command, continue reinforcing it during everyday situations. Whenever your puppy picks up an item they should not have, calmly give the verbal cue “drop it” and offer an enticing trade or reward. By consistently reinforcing the command, your puppy will learn to release items promptly, ensuring their safety and your peace of mind.

In conclusion, teaching your puppy to drop items on command is a crucial skill that promotes their safety, obedience, and overall well-being. By creating a positive training environment, using effective techniques and commands, and reinforcing the behavior consistently, you can successfully teach your puppy to drop items. Remember to have patience, maintain a friendly and encouraging tone, and celebrate each milestone along the way. With time and dedication, your furry companion will become a well-mannered and obedient member of your family.