This video by kikopup showcases one of the most basic yet very important commands that every trainer should know before training it with food which is the default “leave it” command. This is essential especially for puppies because this will set them up to be calm and disciplined when you start further training with food or toys.
You have to initially let your dog know that it just can’t go for food anytime it wants. It must not jump towards you whenever it sees food on your hand, more so if you have a bag of treats for training. By teaching this to your puppy, you begin to make it aware about the concept of positive reinforcement. By clicking and rewarding it as it follows the right steps, your dog will act on its own and go for the gesture that will produce a positive outcome. By being able to teach this to your puppy, you already instill in them the important message of focus. It is best that you incorporate this early in your training stages.
In the video, you can see the Chihuahua scratching over and over the trainer’s hand because it naturally wants to get the treat. As soon as the Chihuahua backed away, the trainer used the clicker and then rewarded the dog immediately. That is the basic concept of the “leave it” command.
The next puppy in the video, which is a golden mix, also did the same during the start of the training. It basically went wild for the treat, using its mouth and its paws just to try to get the treat from the trainer’s hand. The golden only gets rewarded when it stopped and backed up.
The importance of clicking is also critical in this training. Perfect timing provides a lot of benefits for your dog. You can click even on very small steps that your dog is doing right. The process of positive reinforcement basically helps your dog act and decide on its own and not be forced to do anything that it does not like.
By being able to teach this default “leave it” to your dog, you will have a better transition when you start training it with food. Your dog will not mug you or just go for the food all the time. It will have a more disciplined mindset and your training will eventually become easier. This basic obedience training can serve as a foundation for your dog’s future trainings.