How to Get a Dog to Drop a Ball

Treats are an excellent motivator to encourage your dog to drop his ball.

Treats are an excellent motivator to encourage your dog to drop his ball.

Some dogs love their toys so much, they refuse to drop them. If your dog runs off and refuses to give you his ball, it’s time to teach him the “drop it” command. With a little practice and a lot of encouragement, your do will drop a ball on command.

Take your dog to an open, spacious area. Buckle a collar around his neck and attach a 30-foot training leash to his collar. This allows you to keep the dog under control as he runs after the ball.

Sit the dog at your side and show him the ball to get his attention. Throw the ball a few feet in front of the dog, encouraging him to run after it.

Call the dog back to you once he’s got the ball, and ask him to sit in front of you. Hold a treat in front of his nose, and tell him “drop it.” Smelly treats, such as bits of liver or cheese, are particularly enticing and will encourage the dog to open his mouth and reach for the food.

Pull the ball out of his mouth when he reaches for the treat. Tell him “good boy” in a cheerful, excited voice and give him the treat. The key to positive reinforcement is to give him the treat as soon as he releases the ball.

Throw the ball again, and repeat the “drop it” command. Reward the dog with a treat the second he spits out the ball. Continue the toss and reward routine until the dog drops the ball as soon as you give the command.

Items you will need

  • Collar
  • 30-foot training leash
  • Ball
  • Treats


  • If you don’t give the dog a treat immediately, he will not associate dropping the ball with the reward.


  • Don’t try and yank the ball away from the dog. He will think it’s a game and will bite down even harder on the ball.

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Photo Credits

  • dog with ball image by Paul Retherford from