Whether it's a pair of your favorite shoes or your dog's toy....it's no fun when he plays keep-a-way or simply won't give you the object when commanded. Teaching your dog this very important form of impulse control and obedience makes these interactions with your dog that much easier. Here's how to teach him "drop it" or "give":
You'll want to start off by grabbing some treats and one of your dog's favorite toys or an item that he continually goes after (shoe, sock, mulch, etc.). If you want to offer a toy instead of a treat, I recommend getting two identical toys and using them as an equal value reward. This will deter your dog from choosing to keep the toy they already have in their mouth as opposed to dropping it.
Your treat or toy will be something to trade your dog of equal or higher value. This will give them incentive to drop whatever object they have in exchange for something they really enjoy. If your dog goes back to whatever object you've asked them to drop - that totally okay! Use it as another opportunity to practice drop it.
It's very important to never take the object out of your dog's mouth. This will turn the command "drop it" into a game of tug-of-war. Equally so, you never want to chase your dog for the object. This will become the game, keep-a-way. Instead, calmly offer something in exchange. Once your dog realizes that the object they have isn't as fun as the one you're offering - they will drop the object in exchange!
Once your dog is more reliable with this command, you can then start asking them, "drop it" and they will start to immediately drop the object out of anticipation of a reward in exchange. This will take time and practice. I recommend avoiding the use of shoes, socks, and other objects you don't want them to grab regularly. Only practice "drop it" with those items when it naturally occurs. Otherwise, you risk them thinking that taking your shoe and dropping it is a fun game. Instead, practice mainly with their favorite toy. This will then become "fetch"!
If your dog is more of a food dog than a toy dog - no worries! My dog is the same. I would get a toy that you can put a treat in. This way, you can still practice "drop it" as a healthy form of play while also building up the habit for your dog to drop objects on command.
With any specific training questions, don't be shy! Message Busy Dog today so we can help with all of your training needs.