Leave It

This is pretty simple to teach, and can used for multiple scenarios once he masters the command.  It can be applied in so many ways, that I feel it’s one of the most  important things that you can teach your dog to help keep them safe – even from 

  • Start by holding a treat in your closed hand (making a fist) a few inches from his nose.  Don’t say anything initially, just wait for him to stop trying to get into 
  • The second he stops, give him a “Yes!” and give him a treat from your other hand.  Be sure not to give him the treat that you’re asking him to leave.
  • After you feel that he’s getting the hang of it (he ignores almost as soon as you present your fist), then you can attach the command “Leave It” as you present 
  • Switch from hand to hand to keep it interesting, and keep an eye out for cheating (watching the hand that the treat is coming from).  If he starts to cheat, then start putting the hand that you’re rewarding with behind your back 

There are many ways to build on this, so once he’s really got it with a close hand, progress to open hand, then to floor, or any other challenging version you can think  Just remember that getting him where you want him to be will take a little time and patience, and will progress more quickly if we set them up to succeed and make it easier for them to catch on to things and get in the groove.

Also, when rewarding, make sure that you’re getting the reward to him right away, so that he knows exactly what it is that he’s being rewarded for.  It’s a good practice to use a marker/bridge word (Yes!) to mark the second he does good.  That will let him know he did something you like, and you’re about to reward him for it.