Written by Melissa Viera
Your Dog Can Learn to Leave-it Too
There are not many behaviors as impressive to see as watching a dog demonstrate impulse control and obedience. Dogs that have some delicious food, or a favorite toy placed directly in front of their nose, and instead of snatching it up they turn away, are obviously very well-trained animals. Owners are often in stitches when I tell them their dogs too will learn a mind-blowing leave-it. In just a few short minutes the dogs have the first steps down.
Obedience Hacking: Leave-it
No yelling, intimidation, or force required!
What is the fastest, most humane way to teach a leave-it?
Step 1: Start with a not so interesting treat like an ordinary piece of dog food. Close your hand around the treat and hold it near your dog. At first your dog is likely to lick or paw at your hand. Wait until they back away. When they do mark and reward.
Step Two: Begin placing the treat on the floor. If your dog goes for the treat cover it with your hand. Mark/reward and offer your dog an even more delicious treat than the one on the floor.
Step Three: Keep practicing. Use different types of treats and toys. You should feel confident that your dog will leave anything when cued to do so. As you progress you will not have to feed your dog every time they leave something, but only randomly, like a slot-machine.
Watch the Video
Note: You will notice in the video I am not shouting at the yorkie to “leave-it!” Instead I am saying the leave-it cue the way I would say any other cue. I want the dogs to learn to obey even as I talk at an even tone. You shouldn’t feel the need to be out with your dog and shouting the entire time to get them to listen. If you practice with a calm tone it can be transferred over to real life situations.
Challenge: If your dog has not yet learned the leave-it set aside two-three minutes to try out this exercise today. Were you successful?