Teach a Dog to Release a Toy

Teach a Dog to Release a Toy
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Teach a Dog to Release a Toy is a great trick and will come in handy for every dog owner.

This trick is to get the toy or ball back after another trick. For example, the tug of war dog trick or the fetch dog trick.

So, you’ve got your dog so they can play tug of war with you and you’re ready to stop. But, how do you get your dog to let go of the toy?

Read On…


Start with a favorite toy in the mouth of your dog, maybe after a TUG or FETCH trick.

The obvious requirement of this step is to have something in your dog’s mouth that they need to release.

Now that you have that covered, let’s move onto the next step…


With the toy in their mouth, get close to them with a treat in your hand. When they choose to go for the treat instead of the toy/ball, say “RELEASE” and PRAISE and REWARD your dog.

The goal of this step is two things.

One, you want to trade your dog a treat for the toy they have in their mouth. If your dog doesn’t want to do this, you need to get a tastier treat.

The other thing is to associate (connect) the verbal command of “release” to the act of dropping the toy. This will come in handy in the future.


The final step in this trick is to move further away from your dog while saying the “RELEASE” command. When they drop the toy, PRAISE and REWARD them.

So in this part of the training, you want your dog to just release the toy with your verbal command.

You are not putting the treat in their face as a trade. But, you are giving your dog a treat after they release the toy along with a hearty praise of Good Girl, Good Boy. This lets them know they did something right (positive reinforcement).


Teach a Dog to Release a Toy in a good trick to have in your repetoire. 

Take baby steps at a time when you move further away from your dog in step 3. Keep on this and you’ll get there in no time.

You may be interested in more of our tricks to teach dogs.

Please let us know about your positive and challenging experience training your dog in the comments below.

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Steve Larrivee

Steve Larrivee

As a dog lover since his youth, Steve Co-Founded Athenas Pets with his son Kevin to promote dog training to the masses. Athenas Pets, focuses on training products and providing the "know-how" so the average dog owner can train their dog like a pro.

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