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Teach Your Puppy to ‘Drop’

1. Playing regularly with your puppy will help you form a strong bond.  The purpose of play is to develop skills that will be useful throughout their lives, such as impulse control.  The more games you play with your puppy, the more he will consider you to be the most interesting thing in his world. Encouraging puppies to play with toys provides a good outlet for their physical and mental energies.

2. First we want to develop interest in the toy. Rather than just offer your puppy a new toy, take it out, play with it yourself, or play catch with another family member and act like you’re having fun.  Then put the toy away.  Repeat this until your puppy is chomping at the bit to join in the play.  Keep the toy moving/wiggling along the ground. Build enthusiasm for play first, then put in controls like sit and wait later.  Keep the games fun!!

3. Playing Tug is an excellent way to teach your puppy to Take it and Drop it Start by wiggling the toy along the floor to get your puppy excited.  Let him get the toy and then gently tug for 2-3 seconds.  Then say DROP IT, and put a treat to his nose.  Praise him for dropping the toy and repeat the game.  As your puppy gets better at the game, start asking him SIT before letting him get the toy and tell him TAKE IT.  This helps him learn to wait patiently for the things he wants.  Keep your tug sessions short so your puppy does not get over-stimulated.

4. Ideally, your puppy should have two sets of toys:  toys that he can play with by himself and ‘interactive toys’ that he can only play with you.  Keep the interactive toys put away so you initiate play and this keeps you and the toys interesting to your puppy. 

5. You never want to grab something out of your dog’s mouth (unless its dangerous).  This will only make your puppy want it more and want to keep away from you.  You want to be able to approach your puppy and tell him DROP IT.  Playing with toys is a great way to teach this since he gets the toy back.

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