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How to train your dog to "Leave it".

Posted on 22nd Jul 2014 @ 4:13 PM

How to train your dog to 'leave it'.

One of the handiest commands I have been taught at Dog Obedience Training, is the command to 'leave it'. I have used this command many a time on a walk when my dog has wanted to eat something disgusting lying around on the ground.
Although we teach our dogs this exercise so that they will refuse food when it is offered, it is an exercise that can be used in many situations. Once our dog has learned to refuse the food that has been offered to him, we can use the command "Leave it" in all kinds of situations. e.g. If our dog is scratching, is about to dig a hole in the garden, is looking at another dog in an unfriendly manner, we can tell him to "Leave it".
 
You can make a game of this exercise & it is not difficult to train. Place a piece of food in the palm of your open hand and, with your dog in the sit position, extend your hand towards your dog's nose. If your dog attempts to take the food, give your "leave it" cue and close your fingers around the food.
DO NOT MOVE YOUR HAND AWAY. IT IS UP TO YOUR DOG TO PULL BACK FROM THE FOOD.
Repeat the exercise until your dog makes no attempt to take the food. When you are sure that your dog understands the cue "leave it" and makes no attempt to eat the food, then, and only then, can you give your release word (e.g. O.K.) and allow your dog to eat the food reward.
After you have trained "Leave it" and your dog understands what you mean, it is important to remember to go back to the basic training program outlined above at least once a week and retrain this exercise. If you get into the habit of saying "Leave It, Leave it" constantly, but do not go back to the training program and reward your dog for leaving something, your cue will become poisoned and will cease to be effective and will not work.