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Any tips to teach a reliable 'drop it!'?

(20 Posts)

The damn springer x has just killed a rabbit on our morning walk.

It was still alive when he brought it to me in triumph but, because he wouldn't drop it, he eventually killed it trying to carry it.

I know the rabbit was probably old or ill for a galumphing great springer to be able to catch it so close to hedges and escape points, but that doesn't help me feel that I should have better control over the dog.

Any tips for a reliable 'drop it'? All I get at the moment is 'Nah'!

DaddysBigTummy Thu 27-Feb-14 12:00:26

Me too, my pup just comes to me with something he knows he shouldn't have and then legs it when he knows I'm going to try and grab it off him. Yesterday I lost my rag and told him to put the fucking car wash sponge down before I lose my fucking temper and he did cos I think he knew he'd gone too far and I had had enough of him being a terror! But usually he delights in running away and me trying to chase him so any tips would also be welcome here. He also knows when I have a treat in my hand and am just trying it trick him into putting down what he is not supposed to be holding in his mouth so that doesn't work.

Lilcamper Thu 27-Feb-14 12:18:44

Chasing him is a great fun game...for him. You need to offer them a 'swap' for something they consider a higher value than what they have. Store bought treats are very rarely higher value. A bit of ham, chicken, cheese, or in the case of the rabbit, a whole handful of very yummy stinky sardine cake.

MissMilbanke Thu 27-Feb-14 12:20:36

Yep, like Lilcamper I resort to bribery with food.

DaddysBigTummy Thu 27-Feb-14 12:22:32

Thanks lilcamper I can see in his face that he thinks it's hilarious to get me to chase him. He used to find wild mushrooms in the park and eat them so I would be frantic trying to catch him to get them out of his mouth incase they were poisonous. I'm going to try some cheese and see if that works. I may trick him and leave some things out on purpose that he's not allowed and see if he will drop them and if cheese doesn't work we'll try something else. Liver Cake is very desirable isn't it, stinks though!

DaddysBigTummy Thu 27-Feb-14 12:23:50

I'm a very experienced dog owner (never sound it though!) but not had a puppy for years so I'm too used to having dogs who do just as they are told!

Lilcamper Thu 27-Feb-14 12:24:01

It isn't bribery, it is teaching a reliable drop cue and paying for a good drop using a high value reward.

bakingtins Thu 27-Feb-14 12:31:43

Practise with low value items first, swapping for something really yummy, to get the cue wired in there, before you try taking it on the road with a rabbit!

The springer isn't really a food-reward kind of dog. I resorted to throwing a really exciting stick because he's never had a stick thrown before.

He dropped the rabbit for that but it was too late - it was an ex-rabbit by then.

Like a pp said - he brings stuff to me then laughs and runs off. Is not usually a problem because the clicker and thrown kibble works for that.

If I can get him to 'drop it' without question it won't happen again, hopefully. Like those beautifully trained gundogs on TV!

Lilcamper Thu 27-Feb-14 13:39:07

Every dog is food motivated, if thy weren't they would die.

Kibble is boring, he eats it for his meals, it is low value.

Owllady Thu 27-Feb-14 13:44:35

It was most probably for the best he killed it anyway, rather than injuring it and either you having to finish it off or it dying a slow death
<lives in the country >

Whoknowswhocares Thu 27-Feb-14 14:20:47

I agree totally with those saying its best to swap rather than chase, but I can't think of ANYTHING I could produce from my pocket that would be more enticing than a live rabbit!
A fillet steak perhaps? A kilo of cheddar? A second rabbit to chase? grin
Pup would look at me like I was demented if I offered her dog treats in return for a full sized rabbit carcass hmm

Sometimes what you have to hand just won't be enough for 'drop' to work. I would instead try a down,wait as that is my most reliable option. Then go prise it out of her mouth. I'd go with whatever is your most bombproof way of regaining control.
My other 'go to' would be my pretending not to care about the rabbit issue, then mysteriously finding 'something' very, very excitedly, with my squealing with excitement 'WOSSIS????!!! command. Pup plays this game occasionally anyway and can't resist coming over to see what I've 'found'. In practise it's either a toy I've genuinely found on our walk or a strategically placed big lump of sausage wink

Lilcamper Thu 27-Feb-14 14:37:51

This is why you start training and proofing a drop in the house with low value items and gradually build up the value of both the rewards and the items before changing the environment and level of distractions until the 'drop' cue is solid.

butterfliesinmytummy Thu 27-Feb-14 14:45:54

Yes you need to train by dropping kibble and low value treats round the house and rewarding a successful leave it with cheese or hot dog. We had to "body block" the dropped item in the beginning to ensure she couldnt get it. We've been through this, now we reward occasionally , about 50% of the time. We practice in the park, the garden etc. My dog is 8 months and totally gets it, I hope she would drop a rabbit, medication or other things I don't want her to keep.

Goldencity1 Thu 27-Feb-14 15:24:40

The Oldie Goldies have/had pretty good understanding of "leave it!" so when oldest Goldie [age about 12 then] caught a rabbit I yelled "leeeave it" and she did [a bit reluctantly to be sure] I was really pleased. Only to have Daisy grab it and eat it whole. No amount of yelling stopped her and she was careful to keep just out of reach.

Gave a whole new meaning to raw feeding!

Not helpful, I know.

lilcamper he often has his meals 'on the run' catching, finding, chasing his kibble as we walk.

We're still working on him letting me catch him at the end of his walk and me leaping around being exciting with his food really helps.

I have tried tempting him with all sorts of delicious stinky food but he's still 'nah'.

A squeaky rabbit, on the other hand ...!

I like to think that there will be a mother fox dancing with joy when she finds the treat we left her.

Off to practice DOWN!!

Whoknowswhocares Thu 27-Feb-14 17:09:52

How way out buying a real rabbit fur tug toy, just for walks?
Can't seem to make tablet cooperate with a link ATM but mine came from

All dogs seem to take to them WAY more than a standard toy

Racerider Thu 27-Feb-14 17:33:48

Some dogs are less motivated by food than others. My beagle puppy won't take sausage from me on walks if there is a nice smelling lamp post nearby.
There are pros and cons to greedy dogs !

Oo, thanks for that link WhoKnows.

I'll have a good look tomorrow when the house is quiet.

HotPanda Fri 28-Feb-14 15:56:30

I did what LilCamper said - trained the pup up to swop whatever she had for a treat. As a youngster it was always stones, random bits of plastic, anything I didn't want her to have.

Now, she will proudly bring me a carcass to swop for a treat as if to say "aren't I clever, look what I found".
Of course the downside of this was that when I wanted her to stop eating a cow pat I had to hold out my hand and swop it.

We are at 10 months and so far it's been going ok. But then I was told by our trainer never to chase a dog when they had something I wanted to get off them, but to be really attractive and exciting to get them to come to me. Once you have chased then it all becomes a massive game.

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