When my dog Jeffrey gets something in his mouth, I can’t get him to give it to me for love or money. I try pulling it out of his mouth but he holds on tighter, and sometimes he even growls a little. It’s not so bad when it’s one of his toys, but when it’s my expensive wallet or my husband’s golf shoe, I can’t just accept it and walk away. How do I get him to give me what I ask for? Thank you, Charlotte
If it’s a small puppy you can usually win that tug of war, but a bigger and stronger dog…no. Having said that, having to wrestle something out of your dog’s mouth is not the way to go. You want to be able to ask your dog what you want him to do, and him listen to your request. In this case you want to teach your dog drop it.
We’re going to talk in terms of low value and high value, terms that are pretty self-explanatory. Things your dog likes but has no special love for, and things your dog goes crazy over.
Here are the simple steps to take
Grab two low value toys. One hide behind your back, the other give to Jeffrey. When he takes it say “take it.” Give him a few seconds or a minute to play with it, then show him the one you have behind your back. As soon as he drops the first one say “drop it” and when he takes the second one say “take it.” How simple is that.
Practice that a few times a day in short sessions so he doesn’t get bored. Once he’s doing well, you can start gradually introducing higher value toys. Follow the same process, only be aware it may be challenging to get him to drop something he really loves!!
If he refuses just get up and walk away, keeping within his sight line. You want him to see you playing with a toy, and more than likely he won’t be able to resist coming over to see what you’re doing. When he does, say “drop it” when he drops the toy and “take it” when you give up the one you were playing with. Carry on as before.