Megan Brooks CDT
Aside from the 7 essential commands I believe all dogs should know there is another command that can be useful or even lifesaving.
“Leave-it” means that under no circumstances should your dog approach whatever it is that he has his attention on. “Leave-it” can be used to ask your dog to ignore food or other things on the ground as well as in situations such as when there is a cat or squirrel. “Leave-it” asks your dog to control his impulses, putting you in the leader position.
You’ll notice I say to click!, praise and reward. I use a clicker to teach dogs new things. If you use a clicker in your training you may find that dogs learn faster. It is also fine if you don’t use a clicker and instead use only praise and reward. Another option, which offers the same benefits as a clicker is to choose a word such as “yes” or “good” to say at the exact moment the dog does what you want to let him know he did it right.
Step 1- Place a treat on the ground, guarding it with your hand if necessary. Say “leave-it” in a stern and commanding voice. The second the dog looks away from the treat click!, praise and reward using a very high value food reward that your dog will like. Practice 10 repetitions per session. Try to have several short sessions during the day when you can.
Step 2- You are ready for step 2 when you no longer have to guard the treat with your hand. Place a treat on the ground and say “Leave-it” in a commanding voice. As soon as she looks at you, start to back up and use a high pitched voice if necessary to encourage your dog to leave the item and come to you. As soon as she starts to come click!, treat and reward using a high value food reward. Practice 10 repetitions per session.
Note: It may be a good idea to have your dog on-leash when you practice just to avoid her accidently rewarding herself with the forbidden treat.
Step 3- Begin using “leave-it” in your every day routine. If your dog looks at something she shouldn’t have, say “leave-it” in a commanding voice. As soon as she looks at you click, praise and reward using a high value food reward.
Last Updated: Sunday, December 27, 2009