The 'Leave It' command is basically used to tell your pup that you want him to leave something alone....
.... whether it's the toad he's harassing, the electrical cord he's chewing on, or the chicken drumstick your toddler gave him.
It also tells him that you want him to let you have that particular item.... regardless of how much HE wants to keep it.
To you, this command can have a variety of slightly different meanings, such as 'don't touch that!', 'leave it alone', or 'drop that right now'.
You can even use it to teach your pup that cute trick where he balances a treat on his nose :)
But your pup only has to learn that it when he hears those words he needs to let YOU have whatever it is he's got in his mouth/is playing with/or eating!
Follow these simple steps to train your pup to drop or relinquish anything he has when you say 'Leave It'....
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At first you'll want to wait until your pup is playing with one of his toys, then....
It's important to give his toy back while you're in the teaching stage.
This is because although he loves his treats, puppies are very smart and as soon as Fido figures out that once he gives up his toy it's gone, he'll start to weigh his desire for whatever it is you want against his desire for a treat.
If the treat loses, so do you!
Once your pup is reliable about giving you his toy in exchange for a treat you can work up to asking him to leave a bone or edible toy, then to allow you to pick up his food dish.
Most puppies are absolutely okay with this once they get the hang of it, and it's a great way to prevent a resource-guarding problem from every happening.
But, if you have a pup who is very protective of his food, you'll need to progress really slowly so that he gets comfortable with each stage before moving on.
NEVER allow a puppy/dog to prevent you from taking anything away from him. You are in charge and he needs to realize that.
One day, this could even save his life if he picks up something dangerous or toxic (and of course puppies put everything in their mouths so you'll be using this command a lot!), so it's up to you to make sure he does what you expect him to.
Just always be kind, patient and consistent in your training - it should be a fun exercise for both of you, but especially for your pup.
If it becomes negative or punitive he won't learn and everyone will be losing out.
Some people train their pups to relinquish something that's in their mouth with the words 'Drop It' or 'Out'... you can do that if you'd like, the process is exactly the same, just different words!
Dog Training Commands
The Leave It Command