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How to Teach a Dog to Leave it [An Essential Skill]

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“Leave it!” This common dog cue is important for teaching your furry friend a bit of impulse control – which is critical for their health and wellness. We’ll show you how to teach a dog to leave it in 8 easy steps.

How to teach a dog to leave it

How to Teach a Dog to Leave it

Teaching a dog to leave it is all about impulse control. It helps them channel their natural instincts to go after anything they want and instead follow your lead.

To learn how to teach a dog to leave it, read through these 8 steps and take time to practice them with your dog.

It may take several training sessions for your dog to get a hang of it, but as they say, practice makes perfect.

  1. The first thing you are going to do is set a dog treat out on the floor and then put your hand over it.
  2. Your dog will try and get the treat from under your hand. Stand firm.
  3. When your dog stops trying to take the treat from you, celebrate it and reward them with a treat. Make sure it is a different and better treat than the one on the floor. Doing so will cement in your dog’s mind that leaving something may lead to something better.
  4. Repeat this exercise until the dog begins to ignore the treat. Then, you will do the exercise again, but this time your hand will be removed from the top of the treat. You need to stay nearby, ready to cover the treat again if the dog tries to take it.
  5. As soon as your dog turns away from the treat and begins to do something else, reward them with a different treat.
  6. Practice the exercise again while you stand with the dog on a leash. Cover the treat with your foot instead of your hand.
  7. When your dog begins to regularly ignore the treat, you will know they are gaining impulse control and is ready to learn “leave it.” Use the same method, but intentionally drop something and instruct your dog “leave it” to teach him the essential command. Reward them with a treat.
  8. Once your dog is proficient at the in-home “leave it” cue, it’s time to test it outside. Put your dog on the leash and get out there.

Figuring out how to teach your dog to leave it is easier than you think. You just need to be diligent and keep going until your dog has mastered this important skill.

Dog leave it

Final Thoughts on How to Teach a Dog to Leave it

Learning how to teach a dog to leave it is so important when you get a dog. It prevents your dog from getting into something they’re not supposed to, which is absolutely critical to their health and wellness.

And once you’ve taught your dog this skill, remember that it’ll be a constant learning process. Let’s face it, the item they’re pining for is quite tempting, so this requires firm and commanding instructions on your part.

If you find your dog is forgetting what you’ve taught them, go back to the steps above and brush up on the training.

In the end, when your dog is faced with temptation, you’ll be grateful you taught them this critical skill.

Watch a Training Video

As you learn how to teach a dog to leave it, sometimes it helps to see the process in action.

We are huge fans of dog trainer Zak George, and fortunately for us, he has put together a video on the topic.

George brings a positive, fun and informational style that has earned him millions of fans. After watching this tutorial on how to teach a dog to leave it, check out his YouTube channel for a variety of other awesome training videos.

Bonus Training Tip

As you work on how to teach a dog to leave it, you might find yourself getting frustrated. That’s completely normal!

Training a dog does require a great deal of patience and persistence. If you feel like you’re not making progress and getting annoyed, stop for a few moments to get centered. Take a deep breath and count to 10.

Remember, teaching your dog to leave it protects their health and potentially saves their life. That’s something extremely important and worth taking time to figure out.

By following a few steps, you can have your dog leaving that food that fell off the barbecue, without even batting an eye.

Hungry dog
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