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Old November 14th, 2004, 12:56 AM
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moontamara moontamara is offline
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Dog training - teaching the drop it command

Okay, my 7 month old toy poodle (neutered male) is a total sweetheart. He has learned a lot of commands, and he's well trained in almost every respect. One aspect of his training that I kind of gave up on is "drop it." When I walk him (I live in an apartment), he often finds food garbage that I don't see in time to steer him away from. When it's something quite large, I used to say "drop it," (but he wouldn't) and then just pry his jaws open and pull it out. Kind of gross and annoying, but no big deal. However, his jaws are a lot stronger now, and prying them open and pulling something out is dangerous as he really really wants to eat that food!!! Yesterday it got rather serious, and he even snarled at me!!! It was really unlike him, as he is a very good natured and loving pet to both of his owners and to all strangers.

Today he found another big chunk of food and I just let him eat it because I didn't want to go through that again! What should I do? Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

Thank you in advance!
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Old November 14th, 2004, 08:45 AM
Lucky Rescue Lucky Rescue is offline
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Your sweetie just learned that if he growls, you back off and he wins which means he's the top dog. Dogs catch on to this so quickly it's amazing and it's how they behave with each other. The weaker dog will back down as you did.

You can try taking something irresistable out with you - bacon or hot dogs or anything else your dog goes nuts for. Make sure it's something really special and something he gets ONLY when he drops what you don't want him to have.

When he picks up something, hold the treat in front of his nose, and say "Drop it". He will likely let go of what he's holding to get the new treat. Give it to him immediately and move on. Let the amount of time between when he drops the unwanted item and you give him the treat increase and eventually phase out the treat altogether.

You can practice this "trading" of items at home.

Don't get into tugging contests with him and do not show fear and back down.
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Old November 14th, 2004, 09:10 AM
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heeler's rock! heeler's rock! is offline
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I completely agree with Lucky. My oldest, Red, actually bit me shortly after I got her. She wanted to get to another dog, and I wasn't letting her, so she turned around, and bit me! I was in shock, but I grabbed her muzzle and stared her straight in the eye, and spoke loudly and firmly to her, saying "NO! WHAT WAS THAT? YOU DON"T BITE!" She never tried it again.

Definitely don't back down from your dog. He can become even more food agressive if you don't lay the rules down now. I would suggest if he snarls or growls at you, that you speak loudly and firmly to him, and make sure he knows that you will not tolerate his lack of respect for you.

I know it sounds harsh, but it really worked wonders with Red. Now, not all dogs are crated equal, so try the technique you think will generate the best results for you and puppy!
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Old November 14th, 2004, 10:11 AM
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Gazoo Gazoo is offline
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I could take a raw sirloin away from any of the dogs I've had w/o a peep from them

You need to let the silly pup know you're the queen s@$% of sheba!! You are THE giver of all that is good and the ultimate source of retribution and consequence if the pup steps one inch out of line.

Let the pup know you're bigger, meaner, uglier and tougher than they are!!

Think drill sargeant!!!

Lots of different ways to do so, a loud angry voice will often work, in severe cases a scruff shake is sometimes needed. Or grabbing the scruff and holding the pup down on the floor. Which are the things a mamma dog would do anyway.

Don't put up with the BS or the dog will get more and more bossy and thats the last thing you want.
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Old November 14th, 2004, 05:40 PM
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moontamara moontamara is offline
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Actually, I didn't back down (I guess I didn't explain my reaction). I pretty much did exactly what Heeler's Rock did, with the big voice and everything -- BUT, when the exact same thing happened the next day (he finding a very similar piece of doughy Korean bread), I pretended not to notice .

I will try what you said, Lucky Rescue, and I hope it will work like a charm. You guys have to realize that it's similar to walking a dog through a garbage dump sometimes out here (we're moving soon and will have much better walking situation). Yesterday I steered him away from fish bones!!! I also find it's much worse when it's almost feeding time and he's hungry AND like another pet my family had, he snarled at night and seemed almost fearful.
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Old November 14th, 2004, 05:45 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Teaching 'drop it' and 'take it' is one of the very first things we teach. It is a matter of respect when it comes to dropping things to you on command. He needs to learn that all things belong to you - even if he found them first.
First, put your dog on the leash (for control) then get a stick or stiff toy at least 6 inches long - not a soft toy he can get a grip on or food he can break off and swallow. Start with an object that doesn't have high value to him and work towards an object that does have high value. Food will probably be the toughest challenge as it is easy for him to just swallow it and win.
Offer it to your dog and say 'take it' in a happy tone. let him chew on it for 15 seconds - do not let go of the item. Say 'drop it' short, sharp and firm in tone. Almost startle him with the command as you point quickly at the item and his nose. The startle alone should impress him. If he lets go then praise him and gently stroke his face and head. If he does not let go - ask again and vibrate the item in his mouth moving towards the back of his mouth. This should be strong enough to make him want to let go, but not so strong to hurt him. When he releases be very pleased and praise & pet.
Repeat this - holding the item and sharing it with your dog for longer times each round. As he gives willingly then allow the item to be his for just a few seconds, keeping your hand close by and then move your hand in and ask him to 'drop it'. Again increasing times until it can be his for five minutes and he still drops it nicely to you. Working him in his normal obedience commands just before you do this can help. It places him a submissive role and makes him more agreeable over all and ready to be more cooperative.
Practice a lot when you are just hanging around the house - get him to drop dozens of things throughout the day, don't wait to teach it when you need it and don't avoid teaching good manners like you did today.
This command is serious enough to save his life. What if it were a pill you dropped? or a big chunk of chocolate?
Good luck!
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Old November 14th, 2004, 07:55 PM
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moontamara moontamara is offline
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Thanks all, thanks Elizabeth. (I'm going to try not to be offended by your suggestion that I avoided teaching good manners today -- you know I was avoiding potentially being bitten and instead came on this forum to find out what I need to do to avoid the situation... )

I will go out and get a more appropriate toy to teach "drop it" properly -- I like your advice on that, Elizabeth and can imagine it working well -- especially since we can work on it indoors. I'm not so sure it will translate to when Casey finds a piece of fish or beef jerky on the street, however... but perhaps your idea combined with Lucky Rescue's will do the trick.

Please understand that I'm not in an ideal dog training situation in Korea (huge understatement!). Not only do I deal with treats constantly on the road just outside my apartment building (we live next to a public school and garbage cans are almost non-existent in Korea -- instead they have daily street cleaners employed by the government ), but I also deal with Korean people who do not understand the concept of dog training even when it's explained to them... I don't have a yard, and even the park across the street is filled both with people and with food items! One positive aspect is that my dog is very well socialised!!!

I'm sorry if I'm coming across ungrateful, because actually I'm EXTREMELY grateful for all the advice I've been given here, and tenderfoot is a wonderful addition to the knowledgeable people on this board. I just feel like I'm trying to do the right thing, and am not really in the mood for feeling judged! I'm doing my best!

Thanks again. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tamara
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