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Meet Artemus, a spirited and charming puppy just under a year old, whose journey in mastering obedience commands is both inspiring and instructive. In the world of puppy training, adapting to the individual needs of each dog is crucial for success. Artemus, with his bubbling energy and short attention span, presents a unique challenge: he is not particularly motivated by food, a common tool in training. This has led us to explore the effectiveness of clicker training, a method that has proven to be exceptionally beneficial for him. Today, I want to share with you a significant milestone in Artemus’s training – mastering the ‘Drop It’ command, an essential for every dog’s safety.

Understanding Artemus’s Training Needs

Artemus, like many puppies, finds the world around him endlessly fascinating, and focusing on training can be a challenge. Recognizing this early on was key to developing a training approach that works for him. Traditional treats and food rewards did little to capture his attention for long. This led to the adoption of clicker training, a method that uses a sound to mark desired behavior, followed by a reward. The sound of the clicker cuts through Artemus’s distractions, providing a clear, consistent cue that helps him understand exactly what behavior is being rewarded.

The Power of Clicker Training

Clicker training is more than just an alternative to food rewards; it’s a powerful communication tool. It works by creating a positive association between the click sound and a reward, which in Artemus’s case, isn’t always food. The immediacy of the sound allows for precise timing in acknowledging correct behavior, making it easier for Artemus to understand the connection between his action and the reward. This method has proven especially effective in enhancing his focus and engagement. It turns training into a game, where each click brings a sense of achievement and excitement for Artemus.

Video Demonstration: Teaching ‘Drop It’ to Artemus

In the accompanying video, I’m excited to showcase a recent training session with Artemus focused on the ‘Drop It’ command. This command is crucial for any dog’s repertoire, especially for a curious pup like Artemus, who loves to explore with his mouth. The video below captures our training process, highlighting the use of clicker training to reinforce the desired behavior. You’ll see how each successful execution of the ‘Drop It’ command is met with a click, followed by praise, creating a positive learning experience for Artemus. Notice the gradual increase in his focus and the quickness of his response as the session progresses.

Why ‘Drop It’ is a Crucial Command

The ‘Drop It’ command is not just about obedience; it’s a vital safety tool. Dogs are naturally curious and often pick up things that could be harmful to them. By mastering ‘Drop It’, Artemus can be immediately directed to release potentially dangerous objects, from harmful foods to unsafe household items. This command is also essential in situations where immediate compliance is necessary for his safety, such as dropping a leash that might be caught in a door or an object that could cause a choking hazard.

Challenges and Triumphs in Training Artemus

Training Artemus presented unique challenges, primarily his difficulty in maintaining focus. However, through patience and the consistent use of clicker training, we’ve made significant strides. One of the triumphs in Artemus’s training journey has been his growing ability to concentrate during our sessions. The ‘Drop It’ command, in particular, has seen remarkable progress. From initially being distracted and unresponsive, Artemus has reached a point where he executes the command promptly and reliably. This progress is a testament to the power of finding the right training method for each individual dog’s needs.

Key Takeaways and Tips for Dog Owners

Training a puppy like Artemus requires understanding and adapting to their unique personality and motivators. Here are some key takeaways and tips for fellow dog owners embarking on their training journey:

  1. Identify What Motivates Your Dog: Not all dogs are food-driven. Find out what excites your dog—it could be toys, praise, or playtime.
  2. Use Clicker Training Effectively: The clicker is a powerful tool for marking the exact moment your dog performs the desired behavior. Pair the click with a reward to reinforce positive actions.
  3. Be Consistent: Consistency is key in any training regimen. Use the same command and reward system every time to help your dog understand and learn faster.
  4. Start with Short Sessions: Keep training sessions short and engaging to maintain your dog’s attention, gradually increasing the duration as they improve.
  5. Patience is Crucial: Training takes time and patience. Celebrate small victories and stay positive, even if progress seems slow.


Artemus’s journey in mastering the ‘Drop It’ command is a wonderful example of how understanding and catering to a dog’s individual needs can lead to successful training. By employing clicker training, we’ve been able to work through Artemus’s challenges with focus and have developed a training routine that is both effective and enjoyable for him. Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Stay patient, be adaptable, and enjoy the bonding experience that training provides.

I invite you to share your own experiences with training your dogs in the comments below. What challenges have you faced, and how have you adapted your training methods to meet your dog’s needs?