View Full Version : How to teach "leave it" command?

9th May 2007, 11:38 AM
We did a Basic Obedience Class but didn't get that far. This morning when I took Oliver out, he was picking up wood chips and eating them. Just as I got one out of his mouth, he would turn around and pick up another and munch on it. He has eaten the occasional stick, but never to this extent. Is it dangerous for them to eat wood?

What is the way to go about teaching "leave it"? Seems like that might be a tough one to teach.


9th May 2007, 01:47 PM
1. Stand in front of your dog
2. Hold food in your left hand palm
3. Place left hand out it in front of your dog
4. If he moves forward remove the hand straight away
5. Repeat the above until you can put your left hand out and your dog does not move forward, when this happens reward straight away with the right hand
6. Repeat 3 times rewarding each time from the right hand when the dog does not move forward to the left hand
*At this stage you have added no verbal cue's so do not say anything
The behaviour of not moving forward to the left hand is a LEAVE IT now add the cue
7. Place the left hand out, when the dog does not move forward say LEAVE IT and reward with a "TAKE IT" from the right hand immediatly

Repeat this a few times lowering your left hand to the ground each time.
You must keep lowering your left hand to the ground and finally be able to ask for LEAVE IT as you put the treat on the floor.
Once you can put the food on the floor and say leave it then your dog understands the verbal cue.
You should then be able to drop food from a height and ask for LEAVE IT
Always reward with a TAKE IT.

Common mistakes:
Not giving the leave it cue before the food touches the ground
Not rewarding with the take it fast enough
Allowing the dog to take the LEAVE IT food
Dog must never get the LEAVE IT food
Only training leave it using the hands...then leave it to the dog means leave it as long as it's in a hand.

So Leave it to your dog should mean, forget it and move away. If he/she never gets the leave it food then they will understand that when they hear leave it they are not getting it

9th May 2007, 02:08 PM
Very helpful-thanks so much! I will get to work on that!

9th May 2007, 02:31 PM
Holly and TKC; that's exactly the way Mike is doing 'leave it' with Bianca. It works great if food drops on the floor, etc. Takes time, so be patient! We reward her with a "Zuke's salmon treat"..I like the mini-bites; she can eat them in one bite so they're like an instant reward. (She doesn't care much for Cheerios or Charlee bears). good luck!! -Natalie:flwr:

25th May 2007, 10:15 PM
We did the petsmart puppy class, and the way we did it was a little different but same idea...The way we learned was to drop a new different treat on the floor...when they go towards it, you put your foot on it and say "leave it"..then take your foot off and see what they do, if they go back towards it you say leave it again. when you drop it and they just look at it, or look for your approval , you know you did it right and they get lots of love and treats! :D

26th May 2007, 12:33 AM
Is it dangerous for them to eat wood?

In a book I have just finished reading, the author writes that not only is it normal for puppies to snarf the occasional piece of wood, dirt, mud & even dog poo, but it is beneficial. :grnyuk: Yeah I know it sounds totally gross doesn't it. Anyway, I don't think he was advocating that we encourage our dogs to eat these things, but that we put them into perspective & not get overly freaked out by it.

As to "leave it". That sounds like a great command to teach. With 3 out of my 4, if I say a sharp "uh!" they will drop whatever they have in their mouth. Beau of course will just run off with it.