Learning to Say “Leave It” to Your Dog


Use the command “leave it” to prevent your dog from grasping things. It allows you to teach your dog not to handle anything you don’t want it to own, such a kid’s toy, a used tissue, or any of the various things dogs try to pick up and chew on. It can also stop your dog from consuming potentially harmful objects.

Fortunately, teaching this important command is not too difficult. Even the most alluring objects can be “left behind” by the majority of dogs with training.

How to Prepare

All you need to tell your dog to “leave it” is a few bite-sized goodies and a peaceful location. If you are clicker training, you will also require a clicker.

Additionally, don’t stress about it lasting a while. Use brief, encouraging training sessions that last no longer than five minutes each. Your dog can become irritated and start behaving out if you keep him in training for an extended period of time.

How to Teach Your Dog to “Leave It”

Step 1: Give the order and show the treat

Start by showing one of the treats you are holding in your hand to your dog. As soon as it displays interest in the treat, command it to “leave it.” Close your hand so the dog can’t get the treat.

The majority of dogs will initially paw at your hand, stick their noses in it, or nibble on your fingers in an effort to get at the treat. Give your dog a reward and praise it when it gives up and begins to back up little (or use your clicker to make a sound). Your dog ought to get a reward other than the one you told it to leave.

It is imperative that you keep the treat covered at all times when you are first teaching this instruction. Your dog will try harder the next time you give it a treat if you accidentally offer it before you click or praise it. If you make one or two mistakes, it won’t make much of a difference. However, if you give the treat a few times during each training session, it will take a lot longer for your dog to understand what “leave it” means.

Step 2 is to extend the holding period.

If your dog continually starts backing away from your hand after receiving the treat, you can make things more difficult by extending the time it must wait before receiving the treat. You should give the dog a treat as soon as it starts to draw away from your hand in the beginning. As you gradually extend the duration by a few seconds until you can go several minutes, your dog will wait patiently for the treat.

Step 3: Increase Distance

You can then begin moving the treat. Keep your hand close by in case your dog tries to grab it after you’ve placed it a foot or two away from your dog. After your dog regularly leaves the reward there, you can move the treat a little bit closer to them.

Step 4: Continue.

You can start to remove yourself from the treat after a few training sessions. Dropping a reward on the ground and telling them to “leave it” while still standing is a good way to begin this activity. Be ready to block the treat with your foot if your dog rushes at it.

Increase your separation from the treat gradually over several training sessions. When you’re across the room, you’ll soon be able to tell your dog to drop a treat on the floor as you direct.

Step 5: Test Out Different Products

Although using treats to train your dog to “leave it” is a terrific idea, you may also try alternative methods. By placing one of his toys nearby, you can instruct your dog to depart. As soon as the dog even slightly retreats, praise it and give it a treat.

Develop your talents further by using extra items that your dog enjoys. The command “leave it” will be swiftly mastered by your dog, who will thereafter be able to leave any object in its current place.

Problems and Proofing Techniques

This obedience command’s main objective is to help your dog develop self-control. Dogs, after all, have a difficult time resisting a variety of both advantageous and harmful substances.

If you really want to acquire this kind of discipline, use a multifaceted approach. As you develop the “leave it” command, make it a point to put various forms of self-control into practice. Simple actions like making your dog sit or lay down before receiving food, attention, or playing may make them work harder. Include those in your everyday contacts and conduct brief training sessions with your dog every day to help it develop this positive behavior.