The Leave It Dog Command

Once you teach your dog the “Leave It” command, you will often find yourself calling on this command throughout the day. It is personally one of the best dog obedience training commands that I know and is perfect to teach your young puppy or even older dog.

The “Leave It” command can be used in so many situations throughout your day. Let’s say that you are out for a walk and your dog sees a dead animal on the ground, or perhaps you notice that he is sniffing at your breakfast and may take a bite, this is where the “Leave It” command works wonders.

Many people have noted that the “Leave It” command is just as important when training different commands such as stay, sit, or come. The best part is that you can teach this at any time to your dog, they do not have to be a young pup.

Let’s get into how to keep your dog under your voice control by teaching them the leave it command. This will allow you to not need to be pulling on your dogs leash all the time when taking them for walks!

The Leave It Dog Command

Step by Step: The “Leave It” Command

The first thing that needs to happen is that we need to build up the behavior before we give them a verbal cue of “Leave It”. After that, all that is left is to make the behavior generalized.

  • Get your dog in a place where there are not going to be any distractions and sit down with your dog.
  • Take a treat that is going to be your “Leave It” treat and place it in one hand. This can be some sort of dry treat that your dog likes, but is not their favorite thing in the world. In the other hand, you want to have your dogs very favorite treat. For me, this would be a small piece of cheese.
  • Slowly reach our your hand with the “Leave It” treat in your hand. When the dog comes close, do not say anything. Then when your dog goes to eat the treat, close your hand and do not let him eat the “Leave It” treat. If your dog does not show interest, quickly say “YES” and give them their favorite treat from your other hand. If they really want to get at the first treat, just hold it in your hand and ignore your dog completely.
  • After a few seconds of doing the third step, you will want to do it a second time. He does not go right in for your “Leave It” treat say “YES” and give them their favorite treat and give them a scratch on the head. If he does for the treat right away, close your hand again. They will generally give you a look as they are confused. This is a great thing, they are wondering what is going on. When their attention moves away from the first treat, give them their favorite treat and give your dog lots of praise.
  • Continue the previous two steps as many times as needed. Remember, you want to be consistent. This is the key to success when training your dog. Your dog will soon understand what is going on and ignore the first treat so they can get their favorite treat in the world from your other hand.
  • By now, your dog should understand the behavior and you will now need to attach the behavior that you taught them to the actual command of “Leave it”. The reason you do this is so that you can make them leave things alone whenever you want by use of a verbal cue. Keep practicing like you have been but this time, say the words “Leave it” when you extend your hand with the first treat in your hand. Your dog will start to associate the “Leave It” command with not bothering with the first object, in this case, the treat.
  • Once your dog has learned the behavior as well as the cue, you will want to add some other variables to help control your dog in the future. This step is important to you can rely on this command at any time you need to use it. Do not introduce these to your dog at the same time, go through them one at a time and make sure you do not go quickly, slow and steady wins the race.
Other Variables
  1. During the time you are practicing the “Leave It” command hold your hand at different places. This can be above their head, close to the ground, right in front of their face, and other places.
  2. Do not say “YES” or give them their favorite treat until your dog looks right into your eyes.
  3. Put the first treat right onto the floor and give the command: “Leave It”. If your dog does go for the treat, put your foot over the treat.
  4. Change rooms that you are training your dog in. Eventually, you will want to move this process to the outdoors.
  5. Give the “Leave It” command when you are different distances from your dog. This will help solidify the command.
  6. Eventually, you can start trying to practice when there are distractions around the room. This can be other dogs or family friends.
  7. Finally, you want to practice this command when you are out on a walk with your dog. Drop something on the ground and then walk past them and see what happens.

If you are looking for some more information on this “Leave It” command or any other obedience training commands, I would recommend that you give this do it yourself dog training course a few minutes of your time.