How to teach a dog to leave it

Here we will teach you how to complete the “leave it” command with your dog. They will need to be leashed trained before you can start this training. It’s best to start at home, not outside, as there are far too many distractions. Take away their toys, so there are also no inside distractions. Grab […]
A dog looking back at owner
Dog looking back at owner

Here we will teach you how to complete the “leave it” command with your dog. They will need to be leashed trained before you can start this training.

It’s best to start at home, not outside, as there are far too many distractions. Take away their toys, so there are also no inside distractions. Grab their favourite treats, tupperware box and a lead and let’s go!

What does the leave it command mean dogs?

A firm “leave it” means you decide what they eat, and control how your dog behaves in certain situations. It is a good way of keeping them safe.

Tupperware box, dog lead and treats
Items you need tupperware box, dog lead and treats.

Leave it command training steps.

  1. Put their favourite treats in a tupperware box, get the lid and make some holes in it. This way, the smell of the goodies inside will cause them to have an interest in it.
  2. Get some more treats for your pocket.
  3. Place the tupperware on the floor, and let him get interested in it by sniffing the box.
  4. Move away with your dog whilst on a lead at least 12 feet.
  5. Walk towards the box, when your dog gets interested in the tupperware box even if you have only just started to walk say “leave it” and quickly place the treat on his nose whilst gently holding it to his face. Don’t let your dog eat it. Turn them away from the box towards you whilst keeping the dog treat against the nose. Do not pull on the lead as the food will lead them away.
  6. Repeat and move towards the box, any sign of interest be it a look, or a tug say “leave it” and again, hold the food to the nose and lead your dog away.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. However, many times you repeat this, the more it will sink in. If your dog loses interest in the training session, you will need to stop as he or she won’t learn when they aren’t interested.

Conclusion

The aim is to say “leave it” during any encounters or objects that you want your dog to be distracted away from. Your dog will turn to look in your direction instantly without food and well, basically leave it. Be patient and consistent. It would be best if you rewarded treats when the time is right only. Start the training before dinner time, so they are more inclined to learn for a treat when they are hungry.

How about teaching your dog how to heel next?

Good luck!

About the Author

Teresa loves animals and travelling around the UK! She currently has two dogs and two cats. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of pets. Qualified Dog Groomer and currently studying Canine Behaviour. She has been part of the Dog Friendly Team since 2016

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This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.