When it comes to your dog, there’s one “trick” that’s more important than any other.
In fact, teaching your dog this command could very well save their life.
Whether your dog is showing too much interest in a dropped piece of chocolate, a rattlesnake, broken glass, or some wet paint…
Knowing when to “LEAVE IT” is key to your dog staying safe.
Now, you might be wondering…
Why not just say “no”?
Well, “no” is a much more common word — and the more you say something around your dog, the less important it seems.
But “Leave it” doesn’t come up in natural conversation very often, so it’s a stronger choice for training.
And this is one command your dog should ALWAYS listen to.
Now, let’s get to HOW you’ll teach your dog this potentially life-saving trick.
The good news is, it’s very easy.
And even though keeping your dog safe is a serious matter, this training can still feel like a fun game.
To start, you’ll want to have 2 different kinds of rewards on hand — a special treat your dog goes crazy for (like a fresh piece of chicken), and something a little less exciting.
“Leave It” Training
Step 1. Make both hands into a fist, with a different treat in each one, and place them behind your back.
Step 2. Hold out the hand with the more common treat and let your dog sniff.
Step 3. Say “Leave it” and wait for your dog to stop sniffing.
Step 4. As soon as they stop sniffing, give them their favorite snack.
Step 5. Keep repeating this until your dog stops sniffing immediately after you say “leave it.”
It may take a few sessions, but this is a very simple way to help your dog learn this important command quickly.
Once your dog gets the hang of things, try placing the less enticing treat instead of in your hand.
(At first, stand close enough to place your foot over the treat if your dog goes for it.)
This will be a bigger test of your dog’s willpower, but they should get the hang of it soon enough!
Before long, you’ll have a dog who’s ready to “Leave it” at your command.
Which can help keep them safer every day — whether it’s in the kitchen or on a walk.
And because you won’t have to go chasing after your dog in dangerous situations…
Or find yourself reaching into their mouth to fish out a dropped chicken bone…
It could even keep YOU safer too.
To happy and healthy dog years ahead,
- Dr. Gary Richter, MS, DVM