Teaching Puppies To Let Go Of Objects

puppy Classroom
“Help!!!  My puppy is chewing on the piddle pads. He picks them up and runs
around the house like he is declaring catch me if you can. I know I
shouldn’t chase my puppy, but what should I do? Help it is making my
wife crazy!”

Your puppy isn’t the first puppy to discover this really fun way to
activate a vigorous game of chase with his owners. Everyone is
sitting in the living room playing on their phone or watching TV, the
puppy goes and picks up the piddle pad (or sock) and all of a sudden
every one’s full attention is on puppy. Oh and what a fun game of
catch me if you can is.

Let’s start by focusing by seeing this from your puppy’s point of view
and imagine for a moment I asked you if I could take a look at the
twenty in your wallet. Let’s pretend you hand it to me and I slipped
it into my pocket and walked away.  Would you show me your fifty?

We have to acknowledge that even though it is just a pee pad to us it
is a prized toy of the puppy’s. This can actually create much bigger
problems in the future. Fear of having prized objects stolen is what
creates resource guarding which is a dangerous behavior problem for a
adult dog.

Turn the tables on the chase game
Maybe don’t start this with a pee pad, but instead have play this game
with several dog toys. Toss a ball, tug or dog toy 2-3 feet away from
your feet and as soon as your puppy picks it up in their mouth run
away from your puppy while showing your puppy another toy in you
hands. Say “bring” when your puppy starts heading away. Keep your
sessions short and use different toys each session. Remember to run
away from your puppy not towards your puppy. Once your puppy is in
the great habits of running towards you with objects he picks up try
using this when your puppy has objects he shouldn’t.

Teaching your puppy to share prizes and teaching drop on request
Sharing a prized pinecone that your puppy found while out on his walk
may not be at the top of his to do list, but we can teach your puppy
that sharing prizes is actually a big win for him. If he thinks
sharing is a good idea than that’s a win for you too.
For this you will need to have 5-7 object your dog likes to pick up
like a paper towel, pine cone, stick, feather duster, slipper, ect.
You will also need high value crumbly treats like crumbled cheese or
blue buffalo dog treat rolls.
In a empty room with nothing on the floor walk around and say “drop”
1- 2 seconds after saying “drop” place 3-4 crumbled treats on the
floor. Repeat this 15 times.
Then put one of your decoy objects on the ground and completely ignore
your puppy and object. Walk around and say drop then place the treats
on the ground even if your puppy still has the decoy object in his/her
mouth. Repeat this 10 times with each decoy object. Remember don’t
try to pick up the object just leave it on the ground. It’s okay if
your puppy goes back and picks up the object.
Once your dog gets comfortable leaving the decoy object for the
dropped treats then you can say “drop” and only drop the treats once
your puppy spits out the object. Don’t try to steal the prized
possession from your puppy right away unless it is something
dangerous. Instead do three to five drops each time your puppy picks
up something he shouldn’t.

Putting it all together
Now your puppy knows “bring” and “drop” so if you see your puppy pick
something up that he should have ask your puppy to bring and then ask
for a drop. Be sure to reward your puppy well the better the prize he
has the better your should reward your puppy.
Good luck with training puppies can be a lot of work just remember
train smarter not harder. If your puppy thinks it’s a good idea he is
sure to do the behavior you want.
Teaching drop

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