Golden Retriever holding green toy sitting on the grassTraining 

Why Won’t My Golden Retriever Release His Toys?

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Everyone knows the canine that likes to play however gained’t surrender his toys. He tugs as if his life depends upon it.

How a canine reacts depends upon his genes and previous experiences. 

After all goldens had been bred as searching canine to retrieve.

As a canine coach, I’ve labored with many goldens and labs. And regardless that they could love to retrieve and tug a toy, many don’t wish to give them up.

Golden Retriever holding green toy sitting on the grass

Why Gained’t My Golden Retriever Launch His Toys?

My golden Riley likes to fetch a toy and tug. He would joyfully retrieve his fleece or rope tug toy, shaking his prey as he approached.

However he needed to tug with out releasing his toys.

So I needed to educate him to let go or the sport would finish.

There are various the reason why canine don’t wish to launch their toys.

Causes Why Canines Gained’t Launch Their Toys

1. It’s enjoyable!

Tugging and operating round with a toy is self-rewarding. It’s a enjoyable sport to your pup.

2. The canine doesn’t know the principles of the sport

When you don’t educate your pup to not tug, he thinks that’s a part of the sport.

In spite of everything, many canine discover tugging to be loads of enjoyable. My Aussie combine pet likes to tug. 

She likes to tug and shake her Kong Wubba as if she caught a rabbit.

I needed to educate her to offer the toy up. 

We nonetheless play tug generally, however on cue. She’ll tug and I’ll say “sure! Good tug!” 

However I additionally taught her to launch the toy on my cue “give.”

3. Some canine hoard and conceal their toys

That is completely different than guarding their toys aggressively. 

These pups wish to maintain onto their toys in order that they will disguise them and play with them later.

I rescued a Pekingese named Dina who had this behavior. She wasn’t  aggressive in any respect after I went to take the toy.

However when she had the toys she’d run round and place them beneath furnishings to get pleasure from at a later time.

4. Some goldens like to at all times have a toy of their mouth

Even when not actively enjoying, my golden Spencer nearly at all times loved having a toy to hold round.

He didn’t guard it. For him, it was simply enjoyable. I’ve skilled many different retrievers with comparable instincts.

It wasn’t an enormous deal: I simply taught him to offer it up on command.

5. Some canine guard sources, together with toys, meals, area, and folks.

Useful resource guarding happens due to a canine’s survival intuition. There are restricted sources and, to be secure and to outlive, canine attempt to guard the sources they’ve.

Most canine be taught that they don’t want to protect sources. We educate them that there’s loads to go round. 

And we educate them to trade a desired useful resource for a fair higher one, like exchanging a toy for a yummy deal with.

What Can I Do To Train My Canine To Launch Toys?

For our canine to succeed, we’ve to show them our guidelines. 

There are specific coaching workout routines that assist convey to our pups that the sport ends until they provide up the toy.

Have high-value pea-sized treats prepared on your coaching workout routines. And, to achieve success, be sure that your pup has had sufficient train earlier than working with him.

1. Train your canine to offer the toy to you or drop it to the ground

You wish to set this up as a separate coaching train in order that when the true sport happens, your canine will know what’s anticipated.

Maintain out a toy that’s lengthy sufficient on your canine to seize and also you to carry too. A protracted fleece-type toy or rope toy normally works properly. It must be lengthy sufficient that your canine’s tooth aren’t close to your hand.

I don’t use a ball for this to start out the coaching as a result of there isn’t sufficient area for me to carry it whereas coaching my canine to launch it. 

However I’ll educate my canine to launch any merchandise–together with a ball–after he understands what’s anticipated of him.

Have your reward deal with prepared. 

Wave the toy in entrance of your canine’s nostril, telling him “take it.” When your canine takes a maintain of the opposite finish of the toy, inform him “give.” 

Instantly present him the deal with with the opposite hand.

As quickly because the canine releases the toy to your hand, reward with the good deal with and reward (“Sure! Good give!”).

Do the coaching train just a few instances, then, on the finish, throw the toy and inform your canine to get it.

It’s also possible to educate your canine to drop the toy to the bottom as an alternative of releasing it to your hand. 

If you trade the valued deal with for the toy, simply inform your canine to “drop it” and don’t take the opposite finish. Simply let the toy fall to the bottom. Reward with the deal with and inform your pup “Sure! Good drop!”

Do that coaching train just a few instances, then throw the toy and inform your canine to get it.

All the time finish the coaching session on a optimistic observe.

When your canine understands the “give” and “drop it” workout routines, which can take days or even weeks, begin giving the treats on a random foundation.

At first, give the deal with 4 out of 5 instances; then, much less and fewer continuously

If you truly play fetch, carry the deal with trade again as wanted till the canine understands the trade when enjoying fetch.

Some canine are so toy motivated, you’ll be able to even strive exchanging one toy for one more (each being toys your canine actually values) as an alternative of exchanging his toy for treats.

Letting your canine get the toy to play with on the finish of the coaching or fetch session helps him not wish to guard it and helps him be extra keen to offer it up. In spite of everything, he’ll nonetheless get it in the long run.


Let’s generalize. When doing the toy-treat trade coaching train, educate your canine to offer or drop all of his toys. Use completely different toys he has in your coaching classes. 

So one session, for instance, you could use a fleece tug, and one other his toy rope. You need him to generalize that he has to launch ALL of his toys on command.

Preserve your classes quick. Do just a few exchanges, then take a break and do just a few extra. You don’t wish to do too many exchanges or your canine will lose curiosity and zone out.

Distractions, distractions. Begin your coaching with out distractions. Add distractions as soon as the canine understands the train. 

Distractions might be folks transferring within the room, noises, and even adjustments in location. 

You’ll need the canine to carry out his coaching cues all over the place. He’ll do that provided that you up the ante and make the coaching happen in real-life locations.

Sure! At any time when coaching your canine, you at all times wish to mark the conduct you prefer to let him know he did the fitting factor. 

Fortunately saying “YES!’ instantly after he performs accurately will present him that he did the fitting factor.

2. Train your canine to not seize at toys or different objects in your palms

It’s a very harmful behavior for a canine to leap up and seize a favourite toy out of your palms.

His tooth or nails could unintentionally scratch you. Or he could unintentionally knock you over.

As an alternative of grabbing, educate your pup to take one thing out of your palms solely on command.

So, once you’re training your “give” and “drop it” coaching workout routines, educate a “take it” command.

Just remember to use a toy that your canine actually loves.

Maintain the toy out at your canine’s top; inform him “take it.”  If he doesn’t take it, gently wave the toy in entrance of his nostril whereas saying “take it.” 

Don’t maintain it too excessive–you don’t need him to have to leap for it.

As quickly as he takes maintain of the top of the toy, inform him “Sure! Good take it!” 

Then, use the “drop it” or “give” command you’ve already labored the very least just a few days, in order that your canine will launch the toy instantly in your cue.

Then reward and instantly give him the reward deal with.

3. Finish the sport by yourself phrases

Many canine–particularly retrievers–love fetch. However they could love the sport a lot that they don’t need it to finish.

And so they nudge you–and even bark at you–to proceed the sport. Be sure that your canine’s had sufficient train by way of the sport or walks or in any other case (like enjoying with different canine). 

You wish to set him as much as succeed. If he has an excessive amount of vitality to expend, he’ll be much less more likely to cease retrieving.

It’s essential to show your canine some impulse management, even the place the fetch sport is worried. If he learns to manage his behaviors, all his behaviors ought to enhance–together with releasing toys.

I finish the sport with the phrase “sufficient.” At first, the canine doesn’t know what this implies. After I say my cue, I flip away and even stroll a brief distance away.

When you’re constant in not rewarding this conduct, it ought to go away.

A precept of canine coaching is that conduct that’s not rewarded will extinguish itself. So not rewarding the makes an attempt to play ought to finish.

At first, although, the canine could strive even more durable to get you to play–nudging with the toy. It’s known as the extinction burst and is regular.

However, if you happen to’re constant and the canine’s train wants are in any other case met, you have to be profitable. Be affected person.

To make life simpler when you may have a die-hard toy retriever, I arrange one thing else for the canine to do when the sport ends. 

This is usually a puzzle toy to resolve, or a chew to gnaw on, or a stuffed Kong to work on.

My Aussie combine pet Millie dedicates her life to retrieving toys. After all, I’d throw her toy so she’d train and be taught to launch toys. 

However she’s just like the Energizer Bunny and doesn’t wish to cease. So utilizing the above strategies, she discovered when the sport’s over.

4. In case your canine performs keep-away, the sport ends

Some canine who know easy methods to fetch nonetheless suppose a part of the sport is to run off with the toy–simply out of your attain.

It’s actually irritating!

When you work on the take-give, take it-drop it coaching workout routines, that ought to clear up this downside. The canine ought to be taught to return proper as much as you when giving up the toy. This could clear up the issue for many canine.

If the canine nonetheless retains out of vary, you’ll be able to take a step away from him as he’s coming in direction of you, then cease. This could carry him proper as much as you.

In case your canine loves enjoying keep-away, the sport ends. Stroll away as described in #3 above.

5. To maintain toys attention-grabbing, alternate them

Even toys that your canine loves can turn out to be boring in the event that they’re at all times obtainable.

In case your canine has a treasure trove of toys, have two or three teams of not more than about eight toys. Alternate the teams each week. By doing so, the toys gained’t turn out to be boring to your pup.

6. In case your canine exhibits any aggression by guarding his toys, get skilled assist

In case your canine guards just one merchandise or toy, you must simply put that toy away. He shouldn’t have it.

After all, don’t take it away from him. Put it away when he’s not round it, and in his crate or one other room.

Many useful resource guarders guard many objects they see as invaluable. If you method or attempt to take a toy away, in case your canine growls, offers you a tough stare or a whale eye during which the whites of eyes present, or his physique stiffens and tenses up, or he snaps at you or the air–take it critically.

Don’t method or try and take a toy away. As an alternative, get the assistance of a behaviorist or optimistic reinforcement coach who’s skilled with useful resource guarders.

What Not To Do

Even with the perfect intentions, there are issues that we shouldn’t do when working with the problem of a canine giving up his toys.

Don’t get confrontational together with your canine

I counsel NOT forcing the toy out of your canine’s mouth. When you attempt to pry his jaws open, he could lose belief in you and the way you deal with him. Some canine could even turn out to be aggressive.

Don’t chase your canine for the toy

When you accomplish that, the canine will suppose maintain away is loads of enjoyable. However you gained’t. 

In chasing a four-legged canine, he’ll normally win.

He definitely gained’t be taught to offer a toy up this fashion. As an alternative, by educating him the “take-it, give” or “take-it, drop it” workout routines, coming to you to surrender the toy can be extra rewarding to him.


Canines could not launch toys for a lot of causes. They could not know that’s what we count on. 

So we have to practice them so that they be taught the principles of the sport. 

Be affected person and don’t rush the method. Transfer at your canine’s studying pace. 

When you discover any behavioral points akin to useful resource guarding or aggression, it’s greatest to get the assistance of knowledgeable.

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Golden Retriever holding green toy sitting on the grass

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