Teaching your dog the “leave it” is a useful command to have in your training arsenal. It is an easy command to teach and can be vital in keeping your dog healthy and your household safe and sane.
The world is a dangerous place for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. It is your job as a pet parent to look out for your four-legged companion. Dogs are opportunistic by nature and will take the chance to snap up anything that seems appealing to them. This can range from harmful foods or toys (for dogs) accidentally dropped in your household to dead animals, rodents, or feces, you may encounter on walks or outings to your favorite park. The command is also handy when you spot Fido targeting in on making the household kitty a new squeaky toy.
Follow the three simple steps below to teach any dog of any age to “Leave It”
- The first step is to teach your dog to refrain from grabbing tempting treats at will. Place your dog on their leash and place a desirable treat in front of them out of their reach. Give the command “leave it” and immediately offer a different, yummier treat.
- Do not reward with the same treat you are asking your dog “leave” as this can cause confusion. Use low-value treats to tempt your dog and high-value treats as the reward to teach that “leaving it” has a higher payoff.
- Initially, you will reward your dog immediately after giving the “leave it” command. Gradually increase your dog’s self-control between the command and the reward. Also, increase the “leave it” item’s desirability to a toy or a tastier treat.
When starting out keep your sessions short and fun. As you progress with the “leave it” command be sure to incorporate toys, praise, and play along with food treats as your dog’s reward. In no time at all, you will have a new command that is a win/win for everyone.