How to Teach Your Dog to Drop the Ball on Command

We’re teaching our dog to fetch a ball and then “drop it.” I have several questions:

1. When you first start teaching a dog to drop his ball, how many times does he have to do it successfully before it’s automatic? [Adam replies: It depends on the individual dog. Usually not more than one or two training sessions.]

2. In your experience, how difficult is it for pet owners to teach their dog to drop the ball on command? Very difficult, Somewhat difficult, Not too bad, Fairly easy, Very easy [Adam replies: This is a very easy behavior to teach. Tell your dog, “Drop it,” and then wait for him to drop the ball. As soon as he drops the ball, kick it and let him run after it! Do not bend down and pick it up with your hands.

This will ruin the timing. Your goal is to teach your dog that the faster he drops the ball, the faster he’ll be able to chase it again. If he doesn’t ever drop the ball, then use the pinch collar and tab (he is wearing it, right?) and tell him, “Drop it,” and administer a firm tug on the tab. As soon as he spits it out, tell him, “Free!” and kick the ball.

3. Do you know of any tools/machines or training devices that would make this easier? [Adam replies: Just your brain. Once you get your dog to understand that dropping the ball DOES NOT MEAN “GAME OVER” & your dog will start to eagerly drop the ball in anticipation of another romp.