Teach a Dog to Drop It – Get polite mouth control with Tug

Today we’re talking about how to teach your dog to release things in their mouth. Whatever you’re doing right now—DROP IT!—and watch this video. Ian here with Simpawtico Dog Training and
before we take a closer look at Drop It, please make sure you’re subscribed so you never miss
any of our videos. Also, don’t forget to check us out on all
the major social networks so we can get better acquainted. And don’t forget to check that YouTube description
for notes, links and resources about the stuff we talked about. Now, in one of our previous videos we looked
at the first two pieces of mouth control, which were Take It and Leave It. I highly recommend you check out that video
too so you can really get all three working together. As I said in that video, Take It, Leave It,
and Drop it form what I call the Holy Trinity of mouth control…if you can get those three
things dialed in to a high degree, it has a sort of cascade effect on your dog’s manners
and makes life so much more pleasant. There’s no more diving for food on the floor,
no more gobbling up your fingers when you hand them food or a toy. You also get great, polite play sessions even
when the dog is jazzed up. Plus, playing teaching games like tug and
fetch burn off energy and give your dog mental stimulation. These are also gateways to teaching come,
getting offered attention, and immensely improving your handling skills. Let’s look at Drop It so you understand how
we’re working here. Drop It teaches the dog to release things
that are in their mouth. “Drop It” is different from Leave It in that
it’s for things the dog already has, whereas Leave It is for something they want, but haven’t
gotten yet. In the best cases Drop It is useful for games,
as I mentioned. But in the worst cases this will help you
when they pick up something nasty or harmful and you need them to release it NOW. Drop It is best taught using Lure Reward Training. Like all Lure Reward Trained activities, it
follows a 1234 pattern: Request, Lure, Response, Reward. In this case that looks like this:
Say “Drop It.” Lure your dog to drop it. Your dog releases the item. Immediately say “Yes,” praise, and reward. We’re going to teach Drop It, with a toy. In this example we’re going to use an interactive
toy to play tug, and we’ll use the game to teach Drop It, and improve the work with Take
It. Now, a quick note about tug. There are STILL trainers out there and articles
online that adivse you to never play tug with your dog. This is complete rubbish. Tug is a fantastic game to play with your
dog. It teaches manners, mouth control, and frustration
tolerance. It burns off energy, it provides mental stimulation,
and like any kind of play it builds your bond with your dog. However, tug is a game and like any game there
are rules, and if the kids don’t play by the rules, well we don’t play. So my tug rules are very simple:
You can’t put your teeth on me. You can’t take the toy unless I say. You have to let go of the toy when I say. So let’s see a couple rounds here and then
we’ll break it down for you. “Drop It.” “Yes! Good boy! That’s exactly how I wanted it. Good boy” “Drop It” “YES! Good! That was great. Good job.” All right let’s look at the breakdown. Present the tug toy. Make sure you’ve taught them “Take It” and
then enforce that rule so they don’t just reach out and snatch it. “Nope.” “Take it. Good boy.” Allow your dog to take it, and then play tug for a bit. Then teach Drop it with 1234: 1) Say “Drop It.” 2) Lure the dog to drop it by waggling a high-value
treat in front of the nose. Wait it out. This may be immediate, or it may take a second. Just wait. 3) The dog releases it. 4) Say “Yes!” while you stick the treat in their mouth,
and give huge praise. Put the toy behind your back for the time
being (don’t tease them with it). Repeat this sequence. You’re aiming for lightning fast Drop Its. Now you could see Drake getting better as
we went. He wasn’t perfect yet, but we’ve already kicked
that upward trend into motion. So with good consistent practice like this
I have no doubt that Drake will become a pro. With Take It, Leave It, and Drop It firmly
entrenched in his brain he’ll be one of the most gentle dogs. Play sessions should last no more than one
to two minutes tops. You want the game to always end before they’ve
burned off too much energy to do other things, and you always want to end on your terms,
with your dog wanting more. This will keep them in love with the game
which gives you tons of opportunity to teach, practice, and bond. Here are some PRO TIPS for Drop It:
When you say Drop It, you simply immobilize the toy. Don’t pull on it. Don’t wiggle it back and forth. Just keep it from moving. Otherwise you’re sending conflicting signals
by keeping the game going. Just say “Drop It” once and WAIT. In these early stages DO NOT REPEAT YOURSELF
if your dog doesn’t release. This is how they will learn. The time between when you made the request
and presented the lure, to when they actually released the item is called “latency.” As you practice, this latency will shrink
until it becomes an immediate response. You get there through patience and repetition,
not through nagging. As the latency decreases, and that response
time gets faster and faster, you will notice that your dog starts releasing the item before
the lure reaches their nose. This is why with Lure Reward Training we say
it, then lure it. Although the lure initially causes the action
to happen, the dog is soon responding reliably and we no longer need the lure. Also, they learn to anticipate the required
action based on the word they hear. So soon, you can say “Drop It” and NOT present
the lure. When your dog releases the item, THEN we give
them a REWARD from our pocket. See, now you don’t NEED the food to get them
to Drop It, and we’re conditioning them to respond to the verbal request. Refer to our video on phasing out treats for
more in-depth instruction on that part of the process. In this vein, as we get away from dependence
on the food we can start using the continuance of the game as the reward. And in serious situations out in the world
we probably won’t have a treat with us in most cases anyway, so that good response without
food will be absolutely necessary. The thing to remember is that Drop It is not
just a parlor trick. It’s potentially life saving. If your dog picks up something off the sidewalk,
or at the park, or in the bathroom, or even in the kitchen there could be serious consequences. Having reliable remote control of your pooch’s
mouth could mean the difference between a non-issue and spendy vet bills. Or worse. Incidentally, Drop It is also the command
I use for leash biters. Just remember that the moment you NEED a Drop
It, is the wrong time to practice it. Put the time in NOW so it’s ready to go in
that moment of crisis. So good luck, and let me know how drop it
is goes for you. And if you have some other nifty ways to teach
drop it, share them in the comments below. Don’t forget to give us a thumbs up and as
always: keep learning, keep practicing, and we’ll see you next time. Thanks for watching!

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100 Responses

  1. Pat Best says:

    Brilliant – love these videos. Thank you again.

  2. Shauna Guthrie says:

    Should there be a difference between what I've been using as "give" i.e. Let go of what I'm holding and "drop it" i.e. Spit out what you're holding or will the dog be fine with one command for both?

  3. Melrose Design Company says:

    Your videos are so helpful! Cant wait to try this with my German Short haired Pointer. Subscribed!

  4. Guilherme Resener says:

    Hi Ian! I`ve just binge watched your videos. I really liked your way to deal with the dogs. As a new dog owner (my 3month-ish shelter dog is my first dog), the lessons came very handy. Also, Amon Amarth shirt is a plus hahah. Cheers from Brazil

  5. Dan O Malley. says:

    I love this channel a little bit more since noticing the Amon Amarth shirt.⚔

  6. Garance Art says:

    I loveeeeeee ur voice also I was eating dry cereal and as u said drop it the cereal fell out of my mouth XD

  7. Garance Art says:

    I'm extremely scared that when I'm. Gonna get my puppy it's gonna break into my room and steal my stuffed mouse teddy plush thing and destroy it I've had it since my birth and I'm scared that this will happen but that won't happen cause our puppy won't be allowed to go in my room atleast until he is potty trained stops chewing and just doesn't destroy stuff and leaves things again!

  8. Brian Vanderwerken says:

    some of the best training and easy to understand

  9. Janis R Housman says:

    I'm new to your channel. Do you have one on keeping my new dog from jumping on us? We take her from her kennel to the door but she jumps and jumps until we practically push her outside.

  10. Gaby Cepeda says:

    thx so much for all the effort! im a first-time dog-owner n j got a new puppy and all these tips are GOLD

  11. Eric Jensen says:

    Another VERY important step in playing tug from Michael Ellis. The dog should be bringing the tug back to to and kind of pushing it into you. Similar to back chaining a retrieve.

  12. Dale CSC says:

    I can't see the picture of this video!

  13. RazMar says:

    watched about 10 of your videos….subscribed….keep up the awesome work you are doing

  14. Grumbles says:

    I've been binge watching your videos and was thinking to myself, "This guy seems really awesome and the exact kind of trainer I want for my boy. Too bad there's no one like him here. Can't find any trainers except in chain stores." and then I looked you up and found out you are literally right across the river from me…

    too bad I'm moving in a week. 🙁

  15. Lady Raven says:


  16. DarthMohammed says:

    Immediately scrolled through looking for Amon Amarth comments. Yep, there they are. 😀

  17. Anaiah Arthur says:

    what harnest is Drake using ?

  18. Brittany Haugen says:

    I've learned so much in an hour watching your videos than any other training research I've done! your videos are golden and I'm going to share them with all of my friends!

  19. Jan Metus says:

    offtopic, love your longsleeve 😉

  20. FlowerJoy 20 says:

    Any special tips for a dog that "grazes" outside. Efforts to stop this behavior have not yet been successful. My "leave it" when inside is successful ….. but when outside, is translated as "swallow faster" !! ;-( I hesitate to let her loose in our fenced- in back yard (which is a shame) because I never know if she will find a bug, moth, green something, stick, etc., to eat. Any help to offer?

  21. Anushka says:

    What if the dog is chewing a piece of plastic and you cannot hold on to it, will this drop it method work?

  22. theblonderthanthou says:

    Watched a few videos but have hit Subscribe because of the shirt!

  23. Gina Becker says:

    The one command that shames really mastered was leave it and take it but drop it for something's is another story. The hardest thing that I have with drop it is for some reason he turned into a complete moron when he has a tennis ball in his mouth. The bizarre thing is it's only a tennis ball that this happens. Woth his Kong ball and any other toy he's great with drop it but will not release the tennis ball when he has one. When we go to the dog park I don't want him picking up balls because he won't release them. Can you help?

  24. Prasanth Pagolu says:

    of all the thousands of videos on same topics, I rate yours most efficient and enjoyable ways of training! i found you very late still pleased as my puppy is only 4months old. I especially loved your video about 4 types of dog toys, there is hardly any info on similar topic anywhere in the Internet. Thanks alot!!!

  25. Kara K says:

    Your videos are great!

  26. Sarah Yarz says:

    My puppy ALWAYS goes for my hands when we're playing with toys together. Any advice?

  27. Simply Natalie says:

    I'm glad my 8 month old puppy knows how to "drop it" because he tends to put things in his mouth that he shouldn't.

  28. Rich Petrelli says:

    Hi Ian. Great videos. I have a pit/lab mix he has an extremely strong bite and if I give him a frisbee, he will play with it for hours outside, pushing it along and flipping it behind himself with his paws. The problem is that he absolutely will NOT give it to me, regardless of which high value treats I offer. I have even stuck chicken in his face and he refuses it. I have tried throwing another frisbee and he will run to it, then walk away with the one he had before. Any tips?

  29. Sterre Kooijman says:

    Very helpful! Thank you so much for all the knowledge and effort!

  30. Katlyn Barth says:

    My lab mix puppy is/was great at drop it… until he found a dead squirrel. :'(

  31. Matt Hampel says:

    Just adopted a two and a half year old female Border Collie / Australian Shepherd mix who's super loving and I'm getting pretty excited about getting training off on the right foot and honing her intelligence skills. And now I find a good channel where I can learn a lot of great tips and methods from someone who looks like they could bellow the hell out of Pursuit of Vikings. Nice.

  32. Linda Healey says:

    Thank you so much for debunking "tug"–it's a great way for me to play with my sato teenager while slipping in some "training"

  33. Britt11777 says:

    Omg your Amon Amarth shirt! 😍

  34. TrulyTs says:

    Hi Ian! I've got a 4 year old lab, and he has formed bad habits over the years of improper teaching. He absolutely loves fetch, and plays tug of war everytime. I'd like to begin teaching him, and would like to know your tips on how to get him to drop it the very first time? It's nearly impossible to get him to drop it, and he wont learn the command 'drop it' if he doesnt drop it even once, I can't reinforce a behavior that never happens. What are your tips on luring him into dropping it that very first time?

  35. ELLie LARKEY says:

    Your videos are great and super helpful! Do you have any tips on puppy teething?

  36. DrummingSpain says:

    What a legend this guy is – sensible, practical and very helpful – thanks for such a great channel!

  37. Magdalena Stephenson says:

    Thank you for explaining everything so well. Absolutely love your channel!

  38. Lori Hoffman says:

    How do you teach drop it when your dog does not want to play tug-of-war with a toy or anything?

  39. Lori Hoffman says:

    Thank you for all your videos!

  40. Fernando Claussen says:

    Hey Simpawtico! How do you recommend I do this with a deaf dog?

  41. Em M says:

    Lol I was holding my phone😂😂😂😂😂😂

  42. Orpa Taveras says:

    Im in love with this channel ,the first vid I watched was the kong one and its working great. Hoping to slowly grow my dogs command repertoire

  43. LSDJJJ says:

    My dog drops stuff, take the treat and then goes for the stuff he just dropped lol perseverance is the key?

  44. Angello López Aguayo says:

    0:57 LOL
    Keep rocking, my friend!
    Greetings from Chile.

  45. Tristan Hills says:

    What so you so when your dog starts stealing things just to get you to give him a treat or get your attention?

  46. r w says:

    Excellent t-shirt choice!

  47. Tmaxgirl28 says:

    Hi! I have a question: I taught my dog "drop it" very early on since she would always go to eat something off the floor. She will willing do it on command now, but recently, I realized if I tell her "drop it" with a toy or chew, for whatever reason (most likely we need to be doing something else) she doesn't and when I try to take it, like I did when she ate paper or whatever else, she thinks I'm playing. I just hold it, no pulling and repeat the command, nothing. (It might be the repeating. I repeat it twice at most and then pry her mouth open and force it away. That's how I taught her the first time… not safe, I know.) She's greedy, so trying to give her something else just makes her want both. What should I do?

  48. Snenors4pres says:

    Amon Amarth!

  49. amanda woodward says:

    Omg I love your shirt. Great band!

  50. vascoernesto78 says:

    The minute my dog sees a treat, he will completely lose all interest in the tug toy. He will not "take it", will concentrate his eyes on my hands waiting for a treat. He will do "take it" or "leave it" if I refer to the treat but not to the toy. In fact, he will try all other commands like "down" or "high five" but will absolutely pay no mind to the toy. It's frustrating.

  51. Noel Rife says:

    How do you teach a 1 year old pit bull (that just recently came to live with you) how to play tug if he bites my forearms during tug and thinks that it is all part of the game?

  52. Shaylah M. says:

    Ooooooohhhhh!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!! Ima start his training today! I've been trying to teach him during rug of war.. But I've been doing it wrong. lol He's older, but he has tons of energy. Get ready Max!!🐶 🙌🙌

  53. James Myrick says:

    Awesome tutorial, man!

  54. Bob Butcher says:

    Great video. Love your teaching.

  55. catia ribeiro says:

    My problem is: when we are playing he understands, when we are outside and he takes something from the floor, the doesn't drop it, and as he knows I will put my hand in his mouth, he closes it strong, pretends that doesn't anything in his mouth, so just start to eat it after a while of his nose being on the floor

  56. Kathryn Hart says:

    So here’s my deal…my pup is 4 months. He’s an ACD. He’s great at leave it. But…with drop it, he has no interest in that treat I’m putting I front of him if he already has a toy in his mouth. A toy is a way bigger treat to him than any food. So The method of luring with treats is moot with Charlie. Is there another lure method you’d suggest??

  57. Aro800 says:

    Love the video, the step by step instructions makes it so clear. Thanks for sharing.

  58. PJS171 says:

    Great advice and my dog does great with drop it when playing tug and fetch. But this control is not translating to dropping items she finds on walks that she likely considers really high value, such as mulch or the occasional bits of a dead animal (yuck). How do I transition this so it works better in situations outside of playing, where she won't drop on command even when I lure with high value treats?

  59. GetchaaPull says:

    Nice shirt hehe

  60. Turtle Life says:

    I found a reference to the book 'Mine!' on one of your videos. Just wanted to say thankyou, I used it to design training activities to work on my older dog being less reactive to our new dog around food, and so far so good. The new dog ate some cheese off the floor next to my older dog whilst he was eating this morning, and we didn't get more than a glance in his direction.
    I'm always amazed at the behaviours people live with when they could tackle them with the right info. Great channel as ever, thanks!

  61. David Jones says:

    What if the ‘lure’ does not work ?

  62. Alexandra Teodor says:

    I taught my dog 'leave it' for both 'drop it and leave it' as I found it very similar. I followed these steps and it worked, he knows the command well, however, he learnt very quickly that he gets rewarded with a treat so he started doing naughty things so I can say 'leave it' and he can get his treat and we are now in a vicious circle. How do you advise me to act in this situation ?

  63. Jfh_forkids says:

    My dog is constantly taking things and running away with them. If we're playing, he'll drop an item for a treat, but not when he runs away with something. Any suggestions to help make it translate from training/play to real life situations?

  64. Balli Tattooer says:

    I'm so glad I found your channel,
    you explain things so much better than other big channels… I​ wish you all the success in the world.!
    all the best from Iceland

  65. Delieta Gaudet says:

    My dog refuses to let go!! He is a strong American bulldog labrador retriever mix he is a rescue. When we try to use a treat as a Luer he drops the toy and grabs for your hand.When he does drop the toy and we reach to pick it up he gets it first whether he grabs your hand out a toy. I’m assuming the person that had them before us didn’t train him. Love your videos will let you know how it works out thanks for the help

  66. _fukUnicorn_ says:

    My 9week old puppy is not food motivated. Lunch meat, steak, peanut butter, he says mehhh…He’ll play tug but the only way he drops anything is to immediately bite my arm or hand. “Oowww” doesn’t phase him, and as I said treats don’t phase him. So I end up physically prying his mouth apart with my free hand. I can’t reward THAT release can I? And even if I could, what with? Help. 🙏

  67. Derek Lopez says:

    Great vids. im having an issue where my girl will just randomly go Super Saiyan and losees all control and it hard to snap her out of it.

  68. Elizabeth Johnson says:

    Can you please do a video on jumping up on you or jumping on you while you are sitting down. Any tips or tricks?

  69. Spalding Hall says:

    Do you think 'tug' is an appropriate game for a retriever used for hunting? Always heard a big NO on that one. Thanks!

  70. oldsagerat says:

    How do you transition between treats and praise ?
    I don't carry dog treats on me.

  71. Lucas says:

    Time to meet your fate!
    Dognarok awaits!

  72. chokolatgurl says:

    The problem with this is that my puppy will practically take my fingers off along with the treat if I follow this method of "drop it." What can I do??? I'm becoming increasing frustrated that he refuses to let go of ANYTHING (that includes fingers or hands if he bites us while "playing").

  73. KnightKhairyn says:

    Love the Amon Amarth shirt! lol

  74. Lisa Bean says:

    By chance do you have a video on leash biting. I’m working with a particularly difficult pit and feel bad that no one likes walking him because the biting and pulling on the leash. I am working on teaching him basic manners and things like sit, paw and fetch but he is one of the worse leash grabbers I have seen in the 10+ years I’ve worked at the shelter. He bruises my arms and hands almost everyday I work with him😅. He is working on leave it but his self control is atrocious.

  75. Ninjachuki says:

    What happens when the dog begins seeing this as a game and runs around the house picking up things, just to get treats when she does eventually drop them?

  76. gen hart says:

    I really want to teach my Kelpie ‘drop it’ but he doesn’t play with toys! (Something else I’d like to teach him!) how else can I do this? He’s 18 months and we’ve just got him from a shelter and don’t know his history ☹️ Thanks!

  77. Megan Cotterly says:

    We are adopting a new puppy thins weekend. We foubd him a few weeks ago but he would be 8 weeks old until this Friday. We are so excited but I have really been watching anything I can about puppy training (that's how I found you). I really appreciate your week thought out videos. Thank you so much

  78. MaryinFlorida2 says:

    Outstanding advice and videos!!!

  79. Evelyn Erb says:

    Did you really mean to say: limit play sessions to 1-2 min duration? That seems way to short.

  80. Anna Schöld says:

    What type of breed is this wonderful dog?

  81. Poppy Chulo says:

    So use treats for Every trick… Got it.

  82. Jason Villatoro says:

    Does this channel agree with clicker use?

  83. Barbara A says:

    Great job motivating me to keep trying with my dog and not give up. Thanks so much!

  84. David J. Smith says:

    Skål! 🍻 Love the Amon Amarth shirt!

  85. sue mcfarlane says:

    I saved the word drop for a down and when I wanted my dog to give me a retrieved dumbbell I used give as a comandthis worked well in obedience trials as the judge usually says down your dog when they want you to put you dog in a down position and some dog will anticipate this so having a different sounding word is better I’ve hear you must never let your dog win at tug I’m not sure what they mean by wink always use give when playing tug

  86. Someone Somewhere says:

    Thank you, I'll be trying this with my 11 week old pup.

  87. En Tinta Worlds on paper says:

    Very good a clear!

  88. ROD Sculpture says:

    I have a Boston Terrier and I put the treats in front of his nose and he not dropped. He just dropped when he is tired and take one second break. Then he attacks again. What can I do?

  89. 123theralphy says:


  90. J R says:

    Using your great videos to teach our westie pup
    Thanks for your hard work!


    I love your channel sm! Been through loadssss of dog training vids but yours are always fantastic, work best and gets straight to the point. Thank you!

  92. First name Last name says:

    Trying this with my 10 week old puppy

  93. Yeller :0 says:

    What if my dog is only attracted to the treat while training

  94. Natalie Mays says:

    Thank you so much for all of your lovely videos! They have been very helpful in raising my 6 months old mini golden doodle, Ella. I have been training her on leave it/drop it/take it to try and combat some mild resource guarding. I was wondering if you have any more advice for this particular problem, I would be so thankful!

  95. Tyran Vz says:

    1:00 – Take it, leave it & Drop it

  96. Tyran Vz says:

    1:40 – Drop it

  97. Tyran Vz says:

    2:52 – Tug – rules of the game

  98. Tyran Vz says:

    4:55 – Pro tips

  99. Stitch To Victory says:

    Great easy to follow instructions. Tried this on my foster pound puppy this evening and she responded really well. Thank you!

  100. Mattias Andersson says:

    Sick shirt 🤘🏻

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