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Some of the best-behaved dogs have one common trait; they don’t always listen to their owners or other people they interact with. One of the worst problems is dogs that chase everything that moves, including other animals, people, or cars. Training your dog to come when called may not be enough to control this behavior. One command that’s most effective is “leave it.”
Why “Leave It” Is A Valuable Tool
“Leave it” is one of the most versatile commands to teach your dog. The command can apply to leaving something the dog sees on the sidewalk or not chasing a cat, rabbit, another dog, or any moving object. Chasing anything that moves is intriguing for dogs. However, any chase could end in a destructive or dangerous manner, so it’s essential to nip it in the bud.
Use A Grade Level Method
According to professional trainers, obedience training for dogs is most effective when they’re trained according to their stage of development. Training should begin when your furry friend is a puppy. One of the responsibilities of a dog owner is to learn the various stages of puppy development:
- 8 Weeks
- 10 – 12 Weeks
- 3 – 4 Months
- 5 – 6 Months
Training for 8-week-old puppies should include how to be a good puppy. Two-month-old puppies must learn to respond to your commands, be well-behaved, get accustomed to the home environment and learn their routine. Puppies need to understand the use of his dog crate, how to play, and potty training.
At 10 to 12 weeks old, puppies need to learn not to bite and how to behave on a dog leash. Owners should move their hands away when a puppy nips and redirect their attention to a toy or treat they can chew on. Leash training should begin in a safe, enclosed area, so the puppy gets used to having the leash put on. Ten to twelve weeks is an excellent time to teach your puppy to sit, stay, and not jump.
At three to four months, owners should continue with leash training. Rewarding a puppy for good behavior on the leash is beneficial. This is the perfect age to begin recall training . “Come” or “here” are the most practical commands to use when teaching a puppy to come to you. “Chase” is an excellent command to use when walking or running away from your puppy to get him to come to you.
At five to six months, puppies should be ready to have more exposure to new people and situations. However, you should begin introducing your puppy to new people and environments as soon as he has all his vaccines.
One of the most effective ways to begin “leave it” training with a young puppy is to put a favorite treat underneath the toe of your shoe. Make sure your pup can’t grab the treat. Next, add your cue. Make eye contact and say “Leave it!” firmly when your dog first notices the treat under your toe. Reward them with a tasty treat from your hand when they turn away. You can also let the dog sniff and lick at the treat until boredom sets in and your dog stops. Then say “yes” or use a clicker and reward your puppy with a different treat from your open palm, but never the treat underneath your shoe. You should repeat this exercise five times or until your pup gets the idea.
Place a yummy treat on the floor near your shoe and ask your dog to leave it. If the pup goes for the treat, squash it with your shoe. If the treat is left alone, reward your dog with a treat from your hand and praise him. Start practicing the exercise as needed.
Bend down and drop a treat from just a few inches off your floor. When you put the treat down, ask your dog to leave it. If your dog doesn’t touch the treat, reward with a treat in your hand. If the dog refuses to leave the treat, go back to the first-grade level.
Take a favorite toy or treat and roll it behind you right between your legs. When you drop the treat or toy on the floor, ask your dog to leave it. Reward your dog if he leaves the treat alone. Repeat the exercise until your dog understands.
The fourth-grade exercise is similar to the previous one, but this time you must make your movements more exaggerated. You must throw the treat or toy farther and faster and in different directions. Each time your dog responds and leaves the object, reward with a treat from your hand.
You might want to have a friend assist with this exercise or do it in advance. Plant a few toys or treats along the route you and your dog commonly take for walks. As you walk past each object, ask your dog to leave it and offer a reward when your pup turns away. If this isn’t an option at this stage, start this training session in your backyard or another location that’s quiet. Repeat as necessary.
The next step is to use “leave it” on walks when your dog is leashed. Start with walks in quiet areas of your neighborhood and ask your dog to leave it when anything on the ground catches his attention or when people or other animals are approaching. At this point, it’s essential to reward your dog each time you get a positive response. Next, take training sessions on more exciting, busier walks.
Your pup may be ready for the “leave it” command off-leash in a quiet area. Ask your dog to leave birds or other dogs alone. You may try throwing a toy and asking your dog to leave it. The key to success is giving the leave-it command the moment your dog starts moving toward something he’s told to leave alone. If you wait until the dog is too close to the object, the command likely won’t work. If your dog doesn’t respond in a positive way, put on the leash and keep your pup close to you for 30 seconds to one minute. The dog will understand that failure to respond to commands means their freedom is restricted.
The next step is to take your dog to an area with a lot of activity, like a dog park. Give the leave it command when your dog starts to move toward something that’s out-of-bounds. It’s essential to give the command before your dog starts to chase another dog or object. If the dog doesn’t respond to your command, a short time-out is in order. The leave it command is vitally important to teach your dog, will keep your pup safe, and make your walks more fun and relaxing.
1. Why do I need to train my dog the ‘leave it’ command?
All dogs should be trained to respond to their owners. The “leave it” command is one of the most versatile commands and can prevent a dog from going after other animals, people, or objects that could be harmful. A well-trained dog that responds to “leave it” each time the command is given is less likely to get into a situation that’s dangerous.
2. What is the ‘leave it’ command for dogs?
The “leave it” command is one that every dog should know. The command can apply to any situation in which a dog may chase another animal, a person, or even a car.