I trained both my dogs to drop it using a high value treat. Noticed the 'trained' part of that sentence. Now that they know what 'drop it' means, they don't always get a cookie for it. On rare occasion they do though. This has resulted in my male practically throwing whatever he has in his mouth at me when I tell him to drop it. There is no hesitation or the "quick! swallow it really fast so the person can't take it away" that some dogs learn because he knows that if he listens to me, he wins. It's the same if Jasper has something I'd like back- I get something better that is okay and trade up. I don't have him trained to 'drop it' but I do tell him, to "hold on a sec" while I get a nut, and now he stops whatever it is he's doing when he hears me say that. Very useful and SAFE for us both. My male also came to me on the edge of becoming a fearful biter because someone thought he needed 'a firm hand' too. Unfortunately many people define 'a firm hand' with a fist, force, and fear. I won't say that GSDs can't be annoyingly clever and obstinate at times, but managing them is far more about winning the mental game and making them want to do what you want them to do than any sort of brawn. Wonderful post, and I very much agree. Just because dogs are more resistant to the negative effects of punishment than birds does not make it appropriate for them either! The best way to get the behavior you want out of any species (amazon, dog, human) is to set them up to succeed. Make doing the right thing so easy that it becomes habit. Thank you for this post, it's wonderful. And the body language thing is dead right. I can direct my dogs from across the room with a simple look and changing what direction my body is leaning, and we're not even pros! Birds are just as, of not even more observant and sensitive IMO. As I say, the thing that supposedly makes us people so great is our big brains, so let's use them to get what we want rather than muscles and force.