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Leave It

Author: Nicole Stewart | Date: November 13, 2012

There are about a hundred things that we don’t want a dog to touch or pay attention to… in a day.  Poor furry creatures.  They are scavengers by nature, and it’s this very trait that make them so good at finding just what, we humans, don’t want them to.

Just to name a few:

  • The roast left on the counter waiting to go into the oven while you run to answer the door
  • Goose poop
  • The appetizers on the coffee table that’s low enough to seem as if it were a tray for them
  • Road kill
  • Bunny poop
  • The baby’s toys that look and sound EXACTLY like theirs, short the dog slobber coating.  …and they are willing to fix that
  • Cat poop
  • Your only pair of Jimmy Choo’s
  • Their own poop

In the dog community, securing any of the above items or more is truly award winning.  However, I’m pretty sure that this awards show is not available for human viewing.  We would be appalled!

So, if we expect them to turn away from these trophies when we ask, we need to a) give a cue for that; b) use lots of repetition and consistency when teaching it and; c) pay very well for turning away from award winning greatness.

Enter the “Leave it” cue.  This means “don’t touch that!”  I’m a huge fan of this video by kikopup that shows the steps to building a wonderful and lasting “Leave it” that your dog can enjoy doing.  She is using a clicker, but if you say “Yes” or “Good” in the same timing, it’ll still work.

One very important thing to remember is that while your dog is in training on this behavior, be sure to keep them from getting food off tables and counters and nasty stuff on the ground by using gates and tethers to manage their environment.

It just so happens that AnimalSense is holding a one-day class during our Holiday session on December 15th called “Leave the Decorations”.

This one-hour class focuses solely on Leave it and all its goodness, especially during the holidays.

Just don’t bring your cat’s litterbox to practice with in class.




    1. […] for the first two, here’s an earlier post of mine on building a good Leave it and here’s one on Drop […]

At no other obedience school would we have received the kind of attention and encouragement that we have gotten from the AnimalSense staff.

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