The Versatile 'Leave It!' Command

The 'Leave It' command is basically used to tell your pup that you want him to leave something alone....

Dachshund and steak.. teaching the leave it command

.... 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!

How To Teach Your Dog The 'Leave It!' Command

Follow these simple steps to train your pup to drop or relinquish anything he has when you say 'Leave It'....

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Dog Training Commands - Leave It!

At first you'll want to wait until your pup is playing with one of his toys, then....

  1. Walk up to him slowly and show him the tasty treat you're holding in your hand.

  2. Then say 'Leave It' and gently remove the toy from his grasp (or mouth).

  3. IMMEDIATELY give him the treat while saying 'Good Leave It'!

  4. As soon as your little guy has swallowed the treat, give him back the toy or whatever it was you took from him, and let him play with it some more.

  5. Repeat the whole procedure once or twice more and then move on.

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! 

TIP.... TIP.... TIP.... TIP....

When you're teaching the Leave It command it's a good idea NOT to start when your dog is playing with an 'edible' toy or to use his food as the thing you want him to leave.

It will be that much harder for Fido to relinquish something edible and make teaching him this lesson harder than it needs to be.

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.

Bite Prevention

A dog bite is often the result of someone trying to take an object away from the dog... who doesn't want to give it up.

Teaching the 'Leave It' command is a great way to minimize the chances of your dog ever behaving this way.

If you have children at home it's VITAL that Fido understands this command, and that everyone knows how to use it.

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!

Step-by-step Guides To Teaching The:

› The Leave It Command

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