In the picture on the left, you can see Tango in mid "give." Several clients have recently asked me for help in teaching their dogs to give up things or to drop the ball when retrieving. On a difficulty scale, teaching give is relatively easy.
First, start after your dog has already had some exercise.
Next, have some really tasty treats. Not hard, crunchy dog biscuits! Something really special.
Then, give your dog the toy. (If you can, hold onto it while it’s in your dog’s mouth.)
Offer your dog the treat – put it right up next to his nose and say your word. (Give, drop, thank you, please, out, whatever…)
If you’ve chosen a really good treat, your dog should drop the toy to get the treat. Immediately say "Good dog!" and let him have the treat, while at the same time picking the toy back up.
As soon as the dog finishes the treat, give him to toy back. Lather, rinse, repeat!
Here are a few things NOT to do:
– don’t chase your dog – this is fun for the dog! Maybe even more fun than giving the toy up!
– don’t scold your dog – your dog is acquiring a skill. Yelling doesn’t help your dog learn.
– don’t tease your dog with the toy. This is a simple exchange game.