Teaching the dog: A Potential Life Saver – “Leave It”

Why teach your dog to “Leave It”?
The goal is to have your dog take his attention away from an object of interest when you cue “leave it”. This is important when the item of interest is unsafe, such dropped medication and is also a useful self-control exercise.
Do this exercise after “Name Recognition”
1. Have treats hidden in both of your fists. Let him sniff one of your fists.
Click and treat (C/T) when he eventually looks away from your fist and feed the treat with your other hand. Repeat until he no longer tries to get the treat from your fist when you present it.
2. Open your hand containing the treat and show him the treat. Close it if he tries to get the treat. Repeat until he decides to ignore the treat while your hand is open and then C/T by feeding a treat with your other hand.
Repeat the exercise until every time you present your open “decoy” hand with a treat in it he ignores it right away. At this point, add the cue “leave it” (say this just once for each repetition of the exercise) as you show him the decoy treat. Repeat.
3. Set the treat on the floor and say “leave it”. Cover the treat with your hand if he tries to get it. C/T when he looks away from the treat. Repeat the exercise until he doesn’t try to get the treat from the floor once you say “leave it”. Repeat.
4. Set the treat on the floor, say “leave it” and stand up. Cover it with your foot if he tries for it. C/T for ignoring the treat. Repeat.
5. Walk him past the treat on leash, say “leave it” when he sees the treat and keep him from getting it with the leash. C/T when he ignores the decoy treat on the floor. Repeat
6. Next have fun and increase the length of time that he leaves it or stack treats on his paws or toss them around.
7. Teach him that “leave it” also applies to objects such as toys and living things. By beginning with something very easy and building up to the more difficult.
8. Use the chart on the back to keep track of your progress.

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