Teaching your dog to leave an object is important to your dog’s safety. “It” might be food that has fallen on the floor, medications left at their eye level, and so much more. This cue will teach your dog two things: to choose to leave something alone and to check-in with you willingly.

Step One

  • With your dog on a loose leash, drop a treat and quickly cover it up with your shoe. In a clear, firm voice say “leave it”.
  • As soon as your dog moves away from your shoe (or stops sniffing or pawing at it), say “yes!” (or click your clicker) reward them with a treat from your hand.
  • Repeat this until your dog is no longer going towards your shoe, and is waiting patiently for the treat from your hand.

Step Two

  • Repeat the exercise, but leave the treat uncovered. As soon as your dog goes towards the treat, say “leave it”.
  • If the dog leaves the treat alone, say “yes!” or click with your clicker, and reward them with a treat from your hand.
  • If your dog still tries to go for the treat, simply cover it with your shoe and go back to Step One.

Step Three

  • Once your dog is able to successfully leave the treat on the ground after the “leave it” cue, it’s time for a challenge!
  • Drop more than one treat or a more high-value treat.
  • Walk by a pile of treats on the ground with your dog (you may need a second person for this to cover the treats if the dog is too distracted).
  • Repeat Step One in as many different locations as possible, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Replace the treat on the ground with a toy!
  • Train off-leash in a contained area.

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