Leave It is such a useful trick and one great for day to day use. Rosie is very good at it, letting my humans set a treat on one of her paws or holding it beneath her very nose and not eating it. When you catch your dog getting ready to chow down on something disgusting, all you have to do is command, “Leave it!” and your dog won’t touch it. Of course, your dog has to be very practiced to be able to do such a feat, so it does take time and patience – and treats!
- Find a treat that your dog is not crazy about but still likes. Dog kibble is a good example.
- Now, take the treat in your hand and make a fist around it and hold it up to your dog, commanding, “Leave it!” Your dog will probably paw and mouth at your hand trying to get the treat, and it will most likely hurt from the gnawing on your closed fist. However, you must stay firm and not say a word. Say an immediate “Yes!” when your dog stops pawing/gnawing/licking your hand even for a second and give him the treat on a different surface. For instance, if you tell your dog to leave the treat in your hand and he obeys, give it to him on the floor. And, if you tell him to leave it on the floor and he does, feed him it from your hand. In real life, when you tell your dog to leave an object, such as another dog’s bowl of food, you don’t want him to think that he can have it once you say “Yes!” It might be a good idea to even give him a totally separate treat when he leaves the original one.
- Once your dog is consistently not trying to get the treat from your closed hand, take it up a notch by opening your fist a little. When your dog masters Leave it on that level, totally open your hand. Then, put it on the floor, his paws, and, when he is very good, his snout!
- Okay, now your dog is very good at Leave it and will not try to get the treat when you put it in your open palm, on the floor, or on his paws. Now, try to slowly wean him off of the treats and using something different, like petting or a game of fetch. Don’t cut off the treats suddenly or your dog will lose interest and not obey.
Sissy’s Tips and Techniques
- When first presenting your dog a treat in your open palm and telling him to leave it, don’t hold it right under his nose. Keep it a little higher so he won’t be so tempted.
- Going from a closed fist to an open one of very hard for a dog learning Leave it. If your dog tries to snatch up the treat in your open hand, close your fist up. And, if your dog goes for a treat on the floor or his paw after the command “leave it,” cup your hand over it and, when your dog leaves it this way, say “Yes!” and give him a treat.
- While your dog is in the learning process, don’t try implementing this command into every day life yet. Your dog has to be very good at Leave it before he can use it in the real world, so you don’t want to ask too much of him in the beginning. When your dog is better at this command and you use it in a simple situation, remember to reward your dog for a job well done!