This video by kikopup tackles one of the most important dog commands in the world, which is “leave it”. Dogs will naturally go for a treat as soon as possible if they are not properly trained. Teaching the “leave it” command helps in many ways and can be applied not just with food, but also with toys and other objects.
In the video, the trainer starts off by placing a treat on her hand. She shows the treat and then closes her hand. The dog immediately goes for the treat and even tries to scratch its way through. Do not open your hand. As soon as your dog moves away, click and then give your dog its reward. Basically, the whole concept is that your dog will only get rewarded when it starts to ignore the treat. This will provide them with a mindset that there is something positive that’s going to happen even if I don’t go for the treat. This is positive reinforcement. You actually set the dog up for success.
In the video, the trainer then puts the dog on the leash and places treats on the floor. Same with the initial concept don’t pull your dog and only click and reward it once it ignores the treat. To raise the criteria, you can throw the treat on the floor farther away from you and just let your dog stop for a few seconds. Mention the “leave it” command and watch your dog ignore the treat. Once your dog successfully repeats this for a number of consecutive times, you can raise the criteria again by adding different types of treats at the same time. You can also change the treat with a toy or whatever seems to be very desirable for your dog. If ever you drop food on the floor, you will know how good your dog has become, if it totally ignores the plate on command and waits for your release cue.
You should also practice your dog in different locations. You can also try different kinds of rewards. Change it up from time to time so that your dog can easily adapt to different environments. You don’t want your dog to only follow your commands when inside the house. Of course, you want it to perform equally, even when you’re outside. The better your dog performs outside, the less it will get distracted by different situations.
Take the time, endure the discomfort (when your dog starts to scratch your hand for the treat!), and simply be patient. Some high energy dogs might be harder to train but all they really need is focus. It’s up to you to instill that. This “leave it” command is definitely one of the best obedience commands ever! Any dog owner should teach this to their dogs.
Photo © Christin Lola – fotolia.com