Certified Professional Dog Trainer Laura from Sarah’s Pet Sitting
Leave it or as we like to call it, Puppy Zen, is a great behavior to use when teaching a dog to control him or herself. It teaches her that there are some things in this world that a dog just can’t have. It’s also great for stopping her from grabbing that hotdog you just dropped 🙂
The actual behavior of “Leave It” is a head turn away from the object in question.
Warning: We use a treat in this exercise to be the object your dog is leaving. Your dog cannot be allowed to have that treat. Always give her ANOTHER treat when rewarding this behavior. If you’d like to see the treats Sarah’s Pet Sitting uses click here.
Hold a treat in your hand and show it to your dog. Close your hand so she can’t get to it. Your dog will try to get at the treat and will lick and nibble at your hand. Just wait for her to pause for a moment in trying to get the treat. Reward her when she pauses. (Remember to NOT give her the treat in your hand, but instead give her a new treat). Next time, wait for her to move her head away from your hand slightly before you reward her.
Once your dog is offering this behavior on her own, say “Leave It” just as she starts to move her head. Remember to reward her with another treat. Begin to use that word to prompt the behavior.
Challenge her more: Hold the treat in your open hand. Repeat 5 times. Put the treat on a low table. Repeat 5 times. Put the treat on the floor (protect it with your foot at first). Repeat 5 times.
Practice with treats on the floor while you are moving. Build up to being able to call your dog away from objects in the environment.