Top 10 Training Tips-#2

#2 The Leave it Command

When our dog picks up a slipper, a sock, a dangerous food item like a chicken bone, or while on your daily walk goes to gobble another dog’s poop (heaven forbid) they must respond instantly to the command “Leave it!”

Destroying your shoes—and by the way, it is rarely a pair—but rather just one of the pair and usually your most expensive ones…just ask my wife about her Jimmy Choos…isn’t cute. Eating a sharp chicken bone, or swallowing a sock or a small ball, can be fatal. The surgery to remove a small ball can cost over $5,000.

To train the “Leave it” command, we take the dog’s favorite treat out of the cabinet and show it to them. Then we place one on the floor, covering it with our hands or feet. When the pup attempts to get to the treat, we say, “Leave it!” Your words don’t have to be loud or aggressive and are not intended to frighten. But they are intended to grab their attention and for them to learn language. The dog will struggle to get at the food but we won’t let them have it until they relax. The goal is to take their focus off the food and return that focus to the pack leader (that’s you) or to just lose interest. When they relax about the treat or actually walk away or stop trying to get to the tender morsel, we say “good job” and give them the treat.

Use the training time to learn how your best friend thinks. Does the dog look right into your eyes or do they just walk away and find some other mischief to explore? Are they depending on you for reward or are they nonchalant about the food treat or just tired of playing the game of hide and seek? I think you’ll find it enjoyable to learn their language as they learn yours.

As with all training exercises, be patient and consistent. Your pup will get it and you will rest easier.

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