This video features trainer, Carrie Seay of PHX Animal Behavior Center, walking through all of the steps to help teach your dog “Leave it”.
Step 1. Sit on the floor next to your dog with the lower value treats in one hand. Your dog will most likely start to sniff at your hand. Make sure your palm is closed so if your dog goes for your hand they cannot get those treats.
Step 2. The moment your dog removes their focus from the hand with the treats click and toss a treat away from you. Do not use a treat from the closed hand.
Step 3. Once your dog has done this a few times we will add in our cue. You will simply present your closed hand and say “leave it” and then click the moment your dog removes their focus again and toss the treat away from you.
Step 4. When your dog is doing well with the closed hand start offering the hand in different positions and more open. You can even begin placing the treat in more open areas as long as you still have the ability to cover the treat quickly in case your dog goes for it.
Step 5. Work with different items that may be interesting to your dog. You can also begin to use it in more real life situations like on walks or around the house.
Remember to use cues when you know your dog is going to be able to perform the behavior. Set them up for success! So if you are out on a walk and your dog already has their mouth on a leaf, don’t ask them to “leave it” because we don’t want to confuse the meaning of the cue word.