Teaching drop it - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Teaching drop it

...without food. I've done a search but couldn't find any information on the forum. Things one should and shouldn't do? I am specifically talking about rope work. After a good game of tug where he wins and runs around all happy I tell him to bring. He brings but doesn't want to let go. I don't want to do anything that might harm his fearless biting style and put him of it. Help please!

Blake - 2008/06/03
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 11:19 AM
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Re: Teaching drop it

Is there a higher value toy you could offer at the point of drop it? So take out a ball as an example when you want the rope dropped and then reward/mark verbally or with a clicker when the rope is let go? Just an idea.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 11:32 AM
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Re: Teaching drop it

I have not spent a lot of time on drop it, but should with Clover. She won't give up what she's got unless you take it from her. Now Max, with no real training, will drop something if told.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 11:41 AM
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Re: Teaching drop it

I need to know this too. He will drop his Kong Wubba because he can see I have the other wubba ready to throw, but he will not drop his favorite toy willingly..Ever!

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Teaching drop it

When will the game ever stop then? Heheh! I mean, you play tug, he wins, you tell him to bring, he brings, you show the other rope, tug starts again. Or am I missing something?
Place where we train told me to bump him on his nose and he will open his mouth and drop the article. I DO NOT want to do this.

Blake - 2008/06/03
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 02:04 PM
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Re: Teaching drop it

Jackson picked up on drop it pretty quickly...I would take hold of whatever he had in his mouth and gently pulled saying "drop it" the whole time...when he let go I praised and treated...now he will drop anything in his mouth, including a bone, and won't take it until I give him permission.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 07:23 PM
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Re: Teaching drop it

Is there a reason you don't want to use food? I start by holding one end of the toy, give the command, and put a treat right up to the dog's nose. When she lets go of the toy I mark it, either verbally (yes!) or with a clicker, and give her the treat. After a few lessons of that, I try it without the food in my hand, marking and delivering a treat out of my treat bag or off a nearby shelf or table. Each time I give back the toy also, or with a ball, I throw it for her to retrieve. Eventually you can phase out the food rewards and just use continuation of play as the reward. When I'm done training I just don't give the toy back.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2009, 07:30 AM
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Re: Teaching drop it

I know you specified without food, but there's a quick and easy way to teach "drop it" and you don't have to use food for very long.

I take some people food - small cubes of cheese, bits of meat, etc. - and I put several in my mouth. You don't have to do this in front of the dog if you prefer to hide it (I don't mind the dog knowing, but some people are concerned about using food and having the dog focus on it too much). Then I play tug with the dog, and when I want her to let go I say "drop it" and then immediately start spitting the food onto the top of the dog's head. I don't wait for her to let go - I want her to think that "drop it" means "treats fall down fast on you".

Every dog I've ever used this with lets go of the tug and gobbles up the treats. While they're doing that, you can put a few more treats in your mouth and then immediately re-engage the dog in tugging play. Do the whole "drop it and treats fly down on you" exercise again, and repeat that every time you practice "drop it" for several days. By that time, your dog is probably spitting the tug out quickly on command in expectation of the food.

And then I just stop using the food for the most part (although I tend to use a treats for random reinforcements during retrieves anyhow, so the treats do come into play sometimes after a "drop it" command). In order to maintain the anticipation of reward after the dog lets go of the tug toy, you can throw the toy or another toy, or use some other reward that the dog really likes.

Dogs don't usually want to let go because they know that it ends the game - where's the fun in that? You can force them into letting go, but I've found that the treat-spitting exercise keeps enthusiasm and interest high - and it works great!

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