Teaching Shih Tzu ‘Drop It’ Command

Shih Tzu got your shoe? Your sandwich? If so, you’ll be glad he knows Drop It! The trick to teaching a Shih Tzu to drop something is to convince him that something else — a toy, a treat, or more attention — is better if he drops what’s in his teeth.

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Teaching Shih Tzu Drop It

The best way to teach shih tzu Drop It isn’t to wait until your Shih Tzu gets something he isn’t supposed to have, but to teach Drop It ahead of time. Set up your Shih Tzu on purpose to practice this cue. Enough practice and he’ll know exactly what the word means when he has something you really need him to drop.

To Teach Shih Tzu Drop It, follow these steps:

1. Before you call your dog, collect three different items. Pick one item that your Shih Tzu likes, one he loves, and one he really loves. These items may be toys or chew sticks or bones or whatever. Don’t use food.

2. Hold out the object toward the dog and try to get him to take it in his mouth. If he doesn’t take it, find something else he’ll take (or try again later when he’s in a more receptive mood).

3. When your Shih Tzu has the item in his mouth, immediately show him the next best item.

Remember

Most dogs drop any item for an item they like better. Doing so makes dropping it easy and nonthreatening. Instead of thinking you’re taking something from him, the dog understands that giving up the object means getting something better.

4. When your Shih Tzu drops the item to get the better item, say “Drop It” exactly as he’s dropping the item.

5. Immediately give him the better item and praise him. If he doesn’t drop the item, try taking it away (gently). If he relinquishes the item, say “Drop It” and then give him the treat and praise him.

6. Trade up again, offering your Shih Tzu the very best item. As he drops the item, say “Drop It,” and then immediately give him the upgrade and praise him.

Remember

Some dogs do these steps right away, but training is always easier if you know your Shih Tzu wants the item you have in your hand more than the item he has in his mouth — getting your Shih Tzu to trade up willingly. Practice these steps a few times each day, always saying “Drop It” as he drops the item.

As your Shih Tzu gets better, try using different items. After he gets the idea, you can give him a favorite toy and get him to drop it for a treat. Keep trying different ways to get your Shih Tzu to give up the goods, but always say “Drop It” the second he does, and reward him immediately with something better. After much practice (some dogs master this cue faster than others), you’ll be ready when your Shih Tzu runs off with your new shoe.

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