Prompt Switching on Opportunity
When it comes to dropping a disc, many dogs drop on opportunity. Identify that opportunity and put a drop cue right in front of it and repeat.
Perhaps the opportunity the dog is dropping on is the lifting up of a disc, or perhaps it’s a tap of the discs together. Some dogs drop when the handler bends over to pick up another disc, or on some other handler movement.
Weak Cue Followed by Strong Cue
Identify the unintentional cue, that opportunity that the dog is dropping on, and put a verbal drop cue in front of it.
If the opportunity is tapping discs together, give a verbal,”Drop!” then tap the discs together. Mark the drop and reinforce with a throw or a cued Bite. If the dog’s opportunity is the handler bending down to pick up a disc, give the new verbal drop cue,”Drop,” and then bend down, obviously and purposefully. Mark when she drops and reinforce.
If the dog drops on handler movement, give a verbal and then spring into movement, mark the teeth off and reinforce.
Once the strong (old, unintentional cue) and weak (intended verbal) cue have been paired enough, the behavior will start to happen before the old cue is given. When you see that, go ahead and lose the old cue and let your shiny new verbal cue do its work.
It’s very crude, but hugely effective.