How to Teach 'Drop'

Practical Uses

Drop is useful in a number of situations:

  • it is more comfortable for your dog to stay in a 'drop' position for longer periods of time
  • it is more difficult for a dog to get up out of the 'drop' than a 'sit'
  • teaching 'drop' helps elevate your position as a leader
  • teach your dog to drop as a substitute for problem behaviour such as jumping up, door-dashing or leaping out of cars (ie. your dog cannot 'drop' and jump simultaneously)

Method

  1. Hold a treat (or toy) in your fingers and put the treat near your dog's nose.
  2. SLOWLY move the treat down toward the ground and out along the ground away from the dog in an 'L' shape
  3. Your dog should follow the treat and his body should drop to the ground.
  4. As his belly hits the floor, mark (say 'Yes!') immediately and reward.
  5. Allow your dog to move around and repeat steps 1 to 4 until he offers a drop in response to your hand movement. (DO NOT use a verbal command to drop until you have the behaviours happening CONSISTENTLY in response to your hand signal).
  6. Try using a hand signal (palm facing down, slowly move your hand from your waist in a downward movement) WITHOUT a food treat.  Use a treat as a reward rather than a lure.
  7. When your dog responds 8 times out of 10 tries to a hand signal alone THEN you are ready to start naming the 'Drop'. Say 'drop' immediately before you give the dog a hand signal to drop.  Mark and reward.

Troubleshooting

1.  Your dog keeps getting up to get the treat

You may be holding the treat too high.  Think of the treat as a magnet to your dogs nose.

Sometimes the above method is not enough to lure a drop into a drop.  Try one of the following methods instead:

a) SLOWLY move the treat down toward the ground and IN TOWARDS THE DOG in a reverse 'L' shape.  This should topple your dog off balance and he should drop.

b) Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you and lure your dog under your bent knees with a treat

c) Lure your dog underneath the rungs of a sturdy chair

d) Feed him at the ground several times in a row.  Many dogs will automatically drop after being fed at ground level.

2.  Your dog gets over excited by the food and tries to dislodge from your habnd with his paw or teeth.

Hold the food close to your chest and turn your head away (withdraw attention) until he settles down.  Repeat until he settles.  You may also want to try a more boring treat!

3.  Your dog is distracted and not interested

Try using a toy instead.  Try training in a more boring enviroment where there is nothing else for the dog to focus on (eg. bathroom, laundry, etc.).  Try this exercise before dinner when your dog is hungry.

 

 

** Article sourced with the permission of Danielle and Urban Dog Training - www.urbandogtraining.com.au.

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