Possibly one of the best “tricks” you can teach your dog is “Leave It”.
“Leave It” is a wonderful command for three reasons:
1. It stops your dog from eating that dead bird/dirty underwear/rat poison that he is sniffing with such delight.
2. It teaches your dog self-control, which automatically translates into many other obedience applications.
3. It trains your dog to focus on you to get what he wants, rather than focusing on the thing that he desires.
How amazing would it be to have a dog who looks at YOU when he sees something that he wants to grab, rather than just rushing up to it? How great would it be to have a dog who won’t touch something until you tell him that it is okay?
And yet, this only takes five or ten minutes to teach, and you can do it without a single harsh word aimed at your dog.
You will be surprised at how fast your dog can learn this, even an impulsive young puppy. Check out this adorable video of our client Walnut, a puppy whose fantastic family has him doing “leave it” with the most tempting of items – a big, delicious cookie!
And the best part is that this perfect behavior was trained with completely positive techniques – never a harsh word uttered!
How To Teach “Leave It”:
1. Show your dog that when you say “leave it”, he cannot get the desired item until you tell him that it’s ok. When you place a treat in front of him, or offer it from your hand, close your fist over it and whisk it away whenever he tries to go for it. He will quickly learn that there is no point at trying to get the thing, because as soon as he moves towards it, it will go away!
2. When your dog stops trying to get at the forbidden item, and looks at you instead, give him a treat and tell him how great he is! This teaches your dog that when he leaves the thing alone, he is rewarded.
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