Kvac wrote to me about how to train a dog to drop the tennis ball.  She writes: First, let me say that your books have been very helpful to me and my dogs. I would like your help on a specific problem, although my dog has made great strides with learning the down position and in retrieving– he has for some reason got a problem with wanting to release his ball once he is back to me.  And I mean he will not let go for anything.  So… how do you train a dog to drop the tennis ball?

Any advice?
-Kvac

Train A Dog To Drop The Tennis Ball

Dear Kvac, Try this:

#1: Tell him to drop it, then give him a tug on the leash. When he drops the ball, immediately kick it and let him chase it. Once the dog learns that you’re just going to throw it again, he will realize that the faster he drops it, the faster he gets to chase it again.

Train A Dog To Drop The Tennis Ball By Showing Him That: Giving You The Ball Does Not Mean “Game Over.”

#2: If the dog won’t drop it when you correct him, then put a flat collar on him and then lift him straight up. The dog’s head will look straight toward the groun and he will eventually drop the ball, at which point, you should immediately kick the ball and let him chase it again. NEVER ASK THE DOG TO DROP THE BALL AND THEN PUT IT AWAY. When it’s time to finish the game, fake a throw and then put the ball in your pocket and call the dog to go inside and then feed him dinner.

If You Want To Train A Dog To Drop The Tennis Ball, You Can’t Put It Away As Soon As He Drops It.  Dropping The Ball Should Signal More Play To The Dog

#3: If you still can’t get the ball out of the dog’s mouth, then just take the ball in your left hand and beng the dog’s lips around his teeth with your right hand. As soon as the dog releases the ball, you guessed it! Throw it, immediately and let him go chase it. Here’s the trick: You need perfect timing. As soon as the dog releases the ball (and I mean, that VERY SECOND) you should kick the ball off and let him chase it.  If you follow all of these steps, you’ll be able to train a dog to drop the tennis ball very quickly.

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