Last time I spoke about the Down command. I’d like to take this post to talk about the “Leave it!” command.
Just for the sake of dog manners.
Leave it basically means “Hey, leave whatever you’re sniffing alone and pay attention to me instead!” It’s kind of like an offshoot of Watch Me! You can use this method if you’re on a walk and Fido seems fixated on a certain spot or is getting all up in another dog’s grill.
Since we’ve already mastered the other commands, we won’t really need Fido following stuff with his nose anymore (unless you’re doing a tracking type game, more on that later).
We’ll start by holding the treat in one hand and the clicker in the other. Fido will start sniffing, licking, and maybe nibbling a bit on our hand. Don’t let him get at that treat, even if he starts pawing at you. You’ll want to wait until he stops this, and then immediately click and reward, telling him “Leave it!” You’ll want to do this several times, until he gets the hang of it.
We’ll want to have the treat balled up in our hand while doing this training.
Now we’ll switch to standing up. We’ll have two treats for this. One that’s really tasty and delicious, and one that he likes but doesn’t go crazy for. For example, a biscuit type treat and some pieces of hot dogs.
We’ll drop the biscuit type treat on the floor, and when he goes to retrieve it, we will block him from getting it with our foot, and tell him "Leave it." When he loses interest, we’ll click and reward. Practice this several times!
Eventually we should be able to do this on more interesting objects, for example, if you want him to ignore a certain cat (Tom), you’d wait until he was sniffing at Tom, tell him to Leave it! Click and reward when he followed through with the command.
Broken Down into Steps:
1.) Sit down on your dog’s level.
2.) Hold the treat in your fist. Let him sniff and lick your hand, but don’t reward just yet.
3.) Wait until he has lost interest, click and reward.
4.) Practice this until he gets the hang of it.
5.) Switch to standing, with two treats in your hand; a supper yummy treat and an okay but not favorite treat.
6.) Drop the mediocre treat on the floor.
7.) When the dog goes for it, block him with your foot.
8.) When he gives up on the boring treat, tell him Leave it! Click and reward with the awesome treat.
Remember to vary your training sessions. After about three times of him repeating command you want, challenge his brain by giving him a different command like "Sit!" and then move back to Leave it! This helps him recall things and utilize the training in the real world. Remember, the treat you reward with should always be tastier than the treat you are asking him to leave. This also works with toys. If he has a favorite toy, only bring with out when you are rewarding him.