Learning to Give: Teach Your Dog To Share

Does this sound familiar? Your dog is holding a sock. You grab for it. Your dog makes a move. You make a move. Chaos ensues.

One of the most important lessons you can teach your dog this summer is to share: to spit out whatever is in his mouth. I like to use the word “Give.” Here’s how to play this new game!

Put some treats in a cup. Shake the cup and reward your dog when he begins to recognize the sound. If your dog isn’t nuts about treats, substitute a desirable toy and purchase several duplicates. Distribute several cups or toys around your home. Each time your dog has anything in his mouth — from a rawhide chew to a priceless family heirloom — shake the cup or toy and say “Give” as you approach.

If you and your dog are old hands at the ‘grab and go’ game, leave a short drag line on his collar when you’re supervising him. Step on the leash before he makes his move.

If the object in his mouth belongs to him, do not remove it. Simply reward him warmly and walk away. Approach your dog while he is eating and say “Give” as you add food to the bowl. Continue this routine until your dog cooperates eagerly then reward him as you praise graciously.

Stop! If your dog growls at you, stop immediately and call a professional such as myself. Aggression is a serious issue.