Teaching Your Puppy To Leave It

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Teaching Your Puppy To Leave It

by Avrina Ware

If he does not hear (or understand) the "Leave it" command, get his attention followed by "Leave it."

This one is so important that at four to six months of age you can even use an entrapment as a teaching tool. When the puppy cannot see you do it, plant a piece of trash, maybe an empty cereal box, on the floor and stick around until the pup goes to investigate. As he goes to sniff it, shout "Leave it!" and as he retreats at the force of your voice, say "Good dog."

It is an extremely versatile and useful command. It also has an amusing side effect. Many young puppies respond to the extreme urgency in your voice and not only "Leave it" but do an instant Down flat on the ground!

Another step is to put a new type of food treat on the floor. (Don't use one he's used to, as it may confuse him to think that "all of a sudden" he's not supposed to have a treat that he's always been able to have at leisure). Small pieces of cut-up hot dog work well, as do any other doggie treat that's new to him.

Begin by placing the small treat on the floor and make sure he sees you put it there. Walk him by the treat (with him on-lead). When he tries to sniff the treat say "Leave It!" again with urgency in your voice.

When he looks away from the treat, praise him with pats and "GOOD Leave It!" (Depending on your dog, you may need to physically turn him away from the treat.) Then pick up the treat from the floor, inspect it, then tell him to sit. When he sits, give him the food treat and say "GOOD Sit!" Release him and play with him so that he likes this new "Leave It" command.

As you progress in your teaching, start periodically putting the food treat in your pocket after inspection, and offering another food treat for the reward when he sits. This teaches your dog the true meaning of "Leave It" because the reward does not match what he wanted in the first place. In most instances of actually using the command this will be the case.

After a few weeks of practicing, start using the command whenever you deem appropriate. Some instances may occur when he finds garbage on the ground, or when he wants to say hello to an aggressive dog or unknown dog. In any case, ALWAYS follow the "Leave It" command with praise! "Leave It" is a difficult thing for a dog to do, and he will be more willing to respond to your command if he knows what a GOOD thing "Leaving It" is!

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