How to Teach Your Dog The “Leave It” & “Drop It” Commands | DogExpress
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How to Teach Your Dog The “Leave It” & “Drop It” Commands

How to Teach Your Dog The “Leave It” & “Drop It” Commands

Dogs are truly man’s best friend. Through positive training methods and lots of patience, dog owners can enjoy teaching tricks to their dogs.

If you are a dog owner, you probably know how irritating it is to have a badly behaved dog who does not understand a single word you speak.

On the other hand, well-trained dogs are happy and comfortable family members. No matter how uncontrollable your dog is, you can still make him the wonderful dog you dreamed of having. All you need to do is teach him.

We have all heard the horror stories of dogs choking on small items, getting into dangerous medications, or being poisoned by spiteful neighbors.

Empower yourself and protect your pup from these dangers by teaching the “Leave it” and “Drop it” commands that could one day save his life.

Steps to Teach your dog “Leave It” Command

Dog Training is fun – targets good behavior

It is your first line of protection when trying to keep your dog away from something that could potentially cause him harm. It is also helpful in protecting others from your dog in the case of dogs that enjoy chasing bikers, squirrels, joggers, etc.

There are several steps for teaching a dog. Dogs are brilliant and learn things quickly. They will catch the instructions and follow them immediately.

Step 1: Place a desirable treat under the toe of your shoe where your dog can’t get it. Then, patiently let him sniff, lick and paw at your shoe until he gets bored and gives up.

At the point, the dog stops going after the treat, “mark it” with a word (“Good” or “Yes”) or use a clicker and give your dog another treat from your hand – never the treat under your shoe. Repeat until your dog has succeeded five times.

Next, add your cue. Say “leave it!” firmly when your dog first shows interest in the treat under your shoe. Each time he turns away from the treat, reward him with a treat from your hand. Again repeat it five times until your dog has succeeded.

Step 2: Put a treat on the floor, but be prepared to cover it with your shoe. Tell your dog to “leave it.” If he goes for it, quickly cover it with the toe of your shoe. Reward him with a treat from your hand if he leaves it. Repeat.

Step 3: Drop a treat a few inches off the floor. Ask your dog to “leave it” as it drops. If he leaves the treat, give a reward. If he snatches the treat, go back to step two. Repeat until your dog has succeeded five times.

Step 4: Now, try moving the treat away from you to notice if your dog will still follow the “leave it” command or not. Move a treat behind you between your legs while telling your dog to leave it. Mark and reward if he is successful. Repeat until your dog has learned this step.

dog training

Step 5: Try to throw the treats faster in various directions while giving the “leave it” command and marking/rewarding your dog’s wins. Repeat until your dog has mastered this step.

Step 6: Before taking your dog for a walk, run out on the trail, planting treats or toys along the way. As you walk your dog, give the “leave it” command and award him with a treat when he is successful. You may also start in a less distracting setting, like your backyard. Repeat until your dog has learned this step.

Step 7: Now, it’s time to start rehearsing the command on everyday walks. For example, try asking your dog to “leave it” when you see objects on the ground that would affect your dog and when you see another dog, bird, person, etc., running your way. Make sure to bring along treats so you can reward your dog for responding to the command.

Step 8: When your dog is ready, practice the “leave it” cue when your dog is off-leash at a dog park. Remember to give the “leave it” command as soon as your dog makes a move for something – not when he’s mid-chase. Then, if you have a setback, give a short time-out as above.

Read Also: Understanding Pet behavior & Dog Training Tips By Certified Professional Dog Trainer

Teaching the “Drop It” Command

Crate Training Games For Dogs

The “Drop It” command is helpful when your dog has already gotten ahold of something before you had an opportunity to give the “Leave It” cue or when an item is so desirable he neglects the command altogether. Moreover, some people find it helpful during play sessions when the dog is stubborn about releasing the toy or for dogs that are resource guards.

Step 1: To start

  1. Select a few things from the dog’s favorite chew toys and some delicious treats.
  2. Have a treat ready in one hand as you offer your pup one of the chew toys.
  3. As soon as he closes his mouth on the toy, put the treat right up to his nose and give the “drop it” command.

Step 2: When your dog releases the toy, praise him and reward him with a treat.

Step 3: Give the chew toy to your dog again so you can resume rehearsing. If your puppy does not wish to take the item, don’t force it. Instead, you can resume practicing throughout the day by holding a few treats on hand and asking your puppy to “drop it” whenever you see him pick up a bone or toy. Repeat until your dog has successfully dropped an item on command about ten times.

Step 4: Your dog is now a pro at “drop it,” but he expects a treat each time, and you may not have one on hand during an emergency. So now you want to teach him to “drop it” no matter what.

Practice the above steps, but only act to have a treat in your hand. When he drops the toy or bone, show him your empty hand, then reward him with three treats. Continue rehearsing until your dog willingly drops the item on the signal of your empty hand every time.

Step 5: Next, it’s time to raise the difficulty by giving your dog a high-value chew treat. Again, it should be something hard like a dental or Bully Stick that your dog cannot directly gulp down.

Step 6: Get another hard chew and several delicious treats like bits of chicken or cheese cubes. When you give the chew to your dog, you will let go of your end and allow him to take it. As soon as he has the chew, say “drop it” while acting to show a treat.

If he drops the chew, give him ten treats and the chew to keep! If he doesn’t release the chew, try showing him one of the desirable treats. You can slowly build up to higher-value chews the more you practice.

Step 7:

*Ensure you have got the other steps before attempting this! Put your training to the test by asking your dog to “drop it” in real-life situations with objects he would normally chew, such as tissues and shoes. Next, you can try rehearsing outside with things like pine cones and sticks.

If you become overwhelmed, consider hiring a skilled trainer to help you teach these essential commands. Your dog’s safety and peace of mind are worth the fee!

Swati Kaushal is a blogger who loves writing about Dogs. She is happy to amplify her unique knowledge and experience through DogExpress in the hope of helping and educating concerned pet owners. She has two dogs and believes dogs are a source of unconditional love.
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