Teaching your dog or puppy to relinquish something is a very important exercise and should be taught as soon as possible.

If your dog/puppy learns you do not take things away that he wants , but you will exchange them for something better, this helps to prevent guarding.

Whenever your dog/puppy picks something up praise him and give him a signal that tells him you will exchange the item for something else he finds rewarding. The signal can be any word such as: mine, thank you, give, etc. Show the dog the reward, this will depend on what your dog finds rewarding, and, at this stage, must mean more to him than the item he already has possession of. Give the dog/puppy the reward in exchange for the item he already has.

When playing with toys it is important that your dog/puppy learns to give you the toy when you want it but it is certainly not necessary for the human to always have possession of the toy at the end of the game. Sometimes it is fun for your dog to win the toy at the end of the game. If you teach the dog/puppy that most fun comes from sharing the toy with you he will bring the toy back to play with you again.

To recap - if the dog/puppy has an item you want :

* Show the dog the reward (close to his nose)

* Give the release signal

* When the dog releases the item give him the reward

* If you are teaching your dog to play with you, restart the game by giving your dog a different signal (get it, let's play, yours, etc.) and start playing with the toy again.

It is important not to get hold of the item until your dog releases it.  It can often help to sprinkle a handful of treats, as a reward, onto the floor next to your dog's nose when starting to teach this exercise.

As your dog/puppy starts to understand the exercise he will probably start to bring you various objects he finds. Never discourage this, it is much better to have a dog who wants to give you items than a dog who wants to run off with possessions or guard them.