Dog Training: Teaching the “Off!” Command
If you want to teach your dog the command “Off!”, it is best to start with it while playing. The order is important because you should always get your dog to drop something that you don’t want him to carry in his muzzle or eat.
If your four-legged friend finds poison bait or retrieves something that is not a dog toy and potentially dangerous, the command “Off!” can be a lifesaver for him. Here’s how to go about teaching it to your dog.
Teaching the “Off!” command: Preparation
It’s best to teach your pelt-nose this command while he’s still a puppy. While adult dogs can still learn something new, it will be more challenging to understand what you want them to do. If you’re going to teach your dog something, the easiest way to do it is to teach it while playing.
So for training, this command, take a ball or other dog toy that he likes to carry in his mouth outside, and don’t forget to have some treats for a reward. The treats must be more attractive to your dog than his toy. Now start generally playing with your dog, making sure that he associates the giving of his toy with the command “off” and a reward that follows shortly after.
This is how it works playfully.
With the treats, your dog can certainly be distracted from his toy. If your four-legged friend is currently carrying his toy in his muzzle, get the snacks you brought along from the bag – as soon as your dog has spotted you, he will probably drop his toy to turn his attention to the treats.
At the exact moment, he drops the toy, says “Off!” and then rewards your four-legged friend with a treat. This way, he realizes that it’s worth it for him to give out his “booty” in response to that particular signal. It will take a few repetitions before your dog understands what “Off!” means, and he will drop what he is carrying in his mouth on command. Repeat the exercise by first saying “Off!” and enthusiastically rewarding your dog when successful.
How long and how often to train the “Off!” command?
In the beginning, a few minutes of training time per session will suffice. Train for this several times a day. In this way, your four-legged friend stays focused, enjoys learning, and does not lose interest. Gradually, you can increase the training time. But always stop as long as your dog is still enthusiastic. After all, it should be worthwhile for him to obey the command “Off!”. It won’t work if he has to keep practicing even though his receptivity is used up.
Summary: How your dog learns the command “Off!”
Here are once again the essential tips in brief on how to teach your dog the command “Off!”:
● Start training when your dog is a puppy.
● Proceed playfully
● It must be rewarding for your dog to let go of his “prey” on “Off!”
● Several short training sessions are better than a few long ones.
The command “Off!” is vital for your dog, especially regarding poison bait. In the following video, dog trainer Daniel Strother explains how he taught his four-legged friends to let go of things that can be dangerous to animals on his command: