How to Teach your Dog the “Drop” Command

Many people fail to see how having a dog drop on command can be beneficial, but teaching a dog to “drop stay” is one of the most useful things a dog owner can do. For example, it can be a very handy way of controlling your dog when you have guests or while you are eating a meal; it could also save your dog’s life in an emergency situation, as you will see when you read Monty’s story.

It is not advisable to leave a dog in a “sit stay” position for any length of time. Sitting is a fairly demanding position for a dog; if it sits for too long, it will tire. But you can confidently leave a dog in a “drop stay” for up to 20 minutes, knowing it will be comfortable.

In the past, the “drop stay” exercise was deemed the most difficult for a dog to learn, but this was due, more than anything else, to ineffective techniques.

One such method called for the owner first to make the dog sit, and then to pull out the dog’s front legs; this would usually end in a wrestling match. Other methods also tended to involve two separate movements-sitting, then lying.

The method described below; of our own invention, is by far the simplest way to get a dog to drop, and one that creates no stress in the dog—or its owner. It involves dropping from the “stand,” which makes the movement smoother and faster, and very appealing to people who enter their dogs in competitions. A fast drop is also vital when you want to stop a running dog in its tracks.

To teach the “drop,” have your dog on lead and on your left side. Hold the lead in your left hand, or place it on the ground and step on it, to prevent the dog from moving away from you. Place your left hand on the dog’s back, fingers splayed, with your thumb nearest you and with your fingers on the dog’s left side. If you are holding the lead, hook the handle onto your thumb and gather the slack under the palm of your left hand as it lies on your dog’s back.

Now place the index and middle fingers of your right hand on the dog’s muzzle, holding these fingers apart to form an inverted “V”. Then rock your dog to both left and right a few times, saying “Drop”. If it resists, use the one-word reprimand.

Once the dog starts to move downward, praise it. When it drops to the ground, stand up straight beside it, and be ready to reprimand it if it attempts to stand up without a command from you. It should remain in the “drop” position until you say “Free.”

What makes our technique so effective and so much easier for the dog is that, when you place a hand on its muzzle, it tries to see under your hand, lowering itself and going into a drop naturally. Try this exercise daily, so that eventually your dog will adopt this position every time you say “Drop.”

Filed Under: Pets & Animals


About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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