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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday's Training TIP: TAKE/GIVE

Picture this:  your nine-week-old puppy snatches a sock off of the floor.  You try to get it away from him, but your effort turns into a tug-of-war game, your puppy snarling and shaking his head in glee.

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of fighting you over the sock, your puppy let go of it when you simply say, "GIVE?"

Try these four simple steps (and repeat them often in many settings) to teach this useful command.


1.   Hold a toy out to your puppy so he will be enticed to grab it; say, "TAKE IT."

2.   When your puppy takes it, give him lots of praise.  Good boy, Gus!

3.   Let your puppy play with the toy for a few moments, then take hold of the toy and say, ONE TIME ONLY, "GIVE."

4.   Praise your puppy enthusiastically when he lets go of the toy!  Yahoo!  What a good boy!  You could even give him a treat, but be careful not to "lure" with the treat.


  • Do not play tug-of-war with your puppy.  If he tries to pull the toy, just hold it securely without pulling back.
  • Do NOT repeat the "GIVE" command.  Try saying "NO" or poking him with a finger.
  • If he won't let go, grasp his lower jaw with your other hand and squeeze gently with your thumb and forefinger to encourage him to open his mouth.
  • Remember to praise him when he releases the toy.
  • Mix things up by having your puppy SIT before presenting the toy for him to "TAKE."
  • Try these commands at various times and settings throughout the day.

You might be surprised by how quickly a young puppy will learn this!  

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