Terms: Object – the item to be released by the dog

Treat – A yummy much better than the object to be released


Trade is a useful exercise for training your dog to relinquish whatever he has in his mouth for something better. If your dog has ever grabbed a chicken bone or has picked up something, such as a rock or dead frog, and you want to get it from him this exercise is invaluable in getting him to release it.

One important note here, during training you must ALWAYS give back to the dog the object he had in his mouth originally – be it a favorite toy or chew. This teaches the dog that it’s ok to give-up the object as he will be getting it back. Sample objects for training can be a favorite ball, toy, or a rawhide chew.

The treat that you trade for must be something much better than the object to be traded. Pieces of hotdog, boneless chicken, or pieces of cheese work great.


Let the dog hold the object to be traded in his mouth. Place the treat directly in front of his nose. As soon as he drops the object, give him the treat and say trade. As soon as he has eaten the yummy, give him back the object. Repeat the exercise 5 times. Now, say trade as soon as you put the treat at his nose.


This training is like putting money in the bank. You probably will not have treats every time you take your dog out. Giving him the object back during training trains the dog to not covet the object as he will think he will be getting it back. However, outside on walks, you will not give him back the rock or dead frog!!!!!!!!


Katherine Smith

Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), Professional Member APDT, (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator, Animal Behavioral College Mentor