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Leave it means simply leave it alone, ignore it, don’t eat it, don’t sniff it, don’t look at it, don’t play with it, pretend it isn’t there.  It is one of the most beneficial commands I teach.  Even for regular household obedience, this keeps the dogs from taking those accidental table scraps from the visitor you have over for dinner or the piece of chocolate you drop on the floor.  I don’t know about any of you, but I have opened one side of a bag of chocolate chips, gone on with other things, then opened the other side and lifted the bag.  My dogs didn’t get injured from chocolate ingestion because the first words out of my mouth were leave it.  They laid down and looked everywhere but at the chocolate while I cleaned up.

Take It

  • Take a small treat in your hand and put your hand near your dog’s nose.  If your dog tries to get the treat close your hand and pull it away.
  • Repeat this until your dog doesn’t try to get the treat then say leave it and give your dog the treat.
  • Repeat this 25 times per day for a week. You want this step firmly in their mind before you progress.

Leave It Step 1

  • Next, place the treat on the floor, after all, how many times are the items your dog really needs to leave going to be in your hand.
  • If your dog goes for the treat gently cover the treat with your foot and then expose it again.  Do not kick your dog.  You’d rather have an oops and have your dog get the treat than kick your dog.
  • When your dog leaves it successfully, pick it up off the floor and say take it and give the treat to your dog.
  • Repeat this 25 times per day for 2-3 days.
  • Now add multiple treats on the floor repeating the above process.
  • Repeat this 25 times per day for a week.

You are going to be eager to skip ahead and not practice this step for the week because it will seem like your dog will have it.  Don’t do that.  It’s going to get a lot more difficult from here.  You need this to be cemented into your dog’s head to the point that they never even go for the treat, not even on the first try of the evening.