Use this surprising hack to improve your dog's 'drop it' command

Dog with a ball in its mouth
(Image credit: Getty)

For many people, there’s a moment of panic when they realize their dog has got their chops on an unidentified item. A lot of the time it’s something harmless like one of the best dog treats (opens in new tab), though our pets do have a habit of sniffing out things they shouldn’t, whether that’s your favorite sneakers or a small object that could be dangerous if they swallow it.

Either way, it’s important to teach your pet that when you tell them to drop something, they need to listen. However, when you step towards your pup to issue the command, they can misconstrue this for a game and scamper for cover.

If this sounds like a familiar scene, listen up. The team at Peach On A Leash Dog Training (opens in new tab) have shared a video on their Instagram account revealing a counterintuitive, yet clever, hack to help you encourage your dog to part ways with the mystery item in their mouth.

Watch Peach On A Leash's 'drop it' hack

“Sometimes the smallest changes can make a huge difference in your training success with your dog,” the training experts write. “If your dog has learned how to drop items on cue in training but you find that it falls apart in a real-life situation, this tip is for you.

“When our dog grabs something dangerous or important to us, our natural responses often involve frantically asking them to drop the item, looming over them, and/or reaching for the item before they’ve let it go.

“All of the above can be quite confusing with your dog - they may not even recognize you’re asking them to drop something. So, in those situations, be mindful that you’re stepping *away* from your dog as you ask for that drop behavior.”

This, the Peach On A Leash team says, will take the pressure off your pooch and make it much more likely they let the item go. And it appears to work a treat with the adorable young pup in the video above, with the obedient pet plonking the item on the floor before retrieving their edible treat.

The team also shares a bonus trick for continued success when teaching your dog to “drop”.

“When we’re constantly snatching away the things they might value, we risk eroding the mutual trust that effective training is built on.”

So, next time you fear your four-legged friend has made off with the TV remote, give this a go!

Having grown up on farms in rural south west England, there has rarely been a moment in Harry’s life when his home hasn’t been filled with a cacophony of animal noises. From dogs, cats, hamsters and rabbits to chickens, goats, tortoises and a particularly mischievous lamb, he has always enjoyed being surrounded by a wide variety of pets. Currently, he enjoys living in the (comparatively quiet) company of his one-year-old cavachon, Archie. As a writer, he started his journalistic career in 2018 as a reporter earning bylines in more than 70 regional and national UK newspapers over the next three years. After this, he began writing for magazines, producing features and reviews for titles including Men’s Health, Good Housekeeping, Elle and Esquire.