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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

How to Teach Your Dog to "Leave it"

We all know that curious, four-legged companions have an uncanny knack for investigating things they shouldn't. Enter the invaluable command: "Leave It." This cue serves as a powerful tool to protect your dog from consuming harmful or inappropriate items and to deter unwanted behaviors.


In this guide, we'll explore the steps to effectively teach your dog the "Leave It" cue, cultivating not only their impulse control but also a stronger bond between you and your furry friend.

How to Get Started:


Step 1: Set the Scene: To initiate this essential training, arm yourself with a small piece of tortilla or bread – something your dog is forbidden to have. Grab your clicker and have treats cut up into pea size portions and inside of a treat pouch. Stand beside your pup with the tempting treat in your hand.


Step 2: The Drop and Wait: Hold the forbidden item on your right side beside of your right foot. Let it drop, and the moment it makes contact with the ground, promptly cover it with your foot. Now, the waiting game begins. Patiently wait for your dog to offer a sit and attention (direct eye contact). This might take a bit of time, so remain patient and composed. Do not speak to your dog, move around or make any noises to prompt them to look up, just simply wait.


Step 3: Click and Treat: The instant your dog sits and gives you direct eye contact, click your clicker and reward them with a treat. Swiftly pick up the item from the ground and prepare for another round.


Step 4: Consistent Repetition: Repeat this exercise multiple times per day, ensuring you use food items your dog is strictly not allowed to have. This is crucial for clear communication. Remember, "Leave It" should only pertain to items that are absolutely off-limits. Over sessions, your dog will understand that hearing "Leave It" means that the item in question is forever forbidden.


The Importance of "Leave It": The significance of teaching "Leave It" extends beyond thwarting your dog's curiosity or being alpha. This cue can save your furry friend from ingesting dangerous foods, harmful substances, or even potentially toxic items. Beyond health and safety, "Leave It" addresses undesirable behaviors like counter-surfing, chewing on furniture, or chasing after other animals. It's a powerful tool for enhancing impulse control, focus, and overall obedience.


Strengthening the Bond Every successful "Leave It" interaction strengthens the bond between you and your dog. With this cue, you're speaking a language of understanding and care, ensuring their well-being in various situations. As your dog learns to respond to your guidance, they'll develop increased trust and confidence in your leadership.


Teaching your dog "Leave It" is a pivotal aspect of their training journey. It equips them with the ability to resist temptation and make safe choices, ultimately enhancing their quality of life. The time and patience invested in teaching this cue will undoubtedly pay off, as you witness your dog's self-control and responsiveness flourish. So, gear up with those high value


treats and embark on the "Leave It" adventure – a rewarding path to a safer, happier, and more harmonious relationship with your furry companion. 🐾🚫

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