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Teaching your pit bull to happily drop something when you ask can also be a life saver. If your pit bull has picked up something dangerous, you want to be able to get it away from him without getting your hand bit in the process!
There are two steps to teaching your pit bull to happily drop something. First, teach them what the word means:
- Take something interesting enough that you can get your dog to put his mouth on it, but not so exciting that he can’t be encouraged to let go. Say “drop it” and put a treat in front of his nose. He should spit out the item and eat the treat. Repeat 10+ times. *Some dogs would much rather play tug than eat a treat. If you have one of those dogs, let me know and I will show you a different way to train this.*
- Start saying “drop it” and pausing a second before getting a treat and putting it on her nose. You should start to see her spit out the object in anticipation of the treat. Mark and reward heavily!
- Start to repeat this with more exciting objects. Make sure that most of the time, the dog gets the item back after spitting it out. If they have something you need to take away, make sure to reward heavily and give them something they can have instead.
Second, teach them not to be nervous if you approach them when they have something valuable *if at any time your dog looks stiff or nervous, back up a step*:
- Give your dog a chew toy that they will want to chew on for a while. Get a handful of excellent treats (cut up chicken, hot dog, cheese). Walk past your dog and toss a couple treats at him while you pass. Repeat until the dog is dropping the chew toy and looking at you expectantly when you walk past.
- When your dog is dropping the toy when you approach, start saying “drop it” and drop the treats on top of their toy. Do not reach for the toy yet.
- *As long as your dog is not appearing stiff or nervous* say “drop it” and start bending over to deliver the treats right to the dog. Repeat 10+ times.
- Find a treat that is spreadable/squirtable. Spray cheese, peanut butter, baby food, or similar. Now walk up to your dog, say “drop it” and spread the treat on the toy *without touching the toy yourself*. Repeat 10+ times.
- Start putting your hand on the toy while you spread the treat on it. Watch for any signs of nervousness!
- Once your dog is very happily letting you touch the toy, pick up the toy to spread the treat and give it back to them. You now have a dog who will drop something valuable! Make sure to practice putting treats on valuable toys *and giving them back* often. If you ever have to take something away, make sure to trade it for something else.
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