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"Leave it" command

April 6th, 2005, 12:24 AM
I`ve seen several references to this and would love to have someone explain how this is trained. I`ve always used a general "NO" for anything I wanted our older dog to stop doing or drop. It worked well for her, in fact it worked so beautifully the first time I realized she finally understood I almost cried :love: it was like a lightbulb going on. And it stuck, she did obey almost always from then on. The puppy (3 months) I *think* understands no, but only obeys when she feels like it so far (I know, more training is in order) fortunately she`s still small enough I can physically go make her stop doing whatever it is. Maybe a more specific command would help?

Lucky Rescue
April 7th, 2005, 05:49 PM
I seldom use "No" as I find it too vague for dogs to understand. It can mean "No - don't get on the sofa" or "No, don't pick that food up" or even "No, don't jump on me." Too confusing for a dog!

I like specific commands and Leave It is one of those. It ONLY means "Don't pick that up in your mouth."

Here's how I taught it (I'm sure others have their own methods)

I got two treats and put one in each hand. One hand I put behind my back.

I held out a treat in my open hand as an invitation to my dog. She went to take it, I snapped my fingers closed over the treat, turned my hand over and said "LEAVE IT." I think it took about two repetitions until she no longer even tried to take the treat and would actually turn away from it.

The first time she didn't try and take the treat, I immediately gave her the treat in my other hand and praised her.

I then progessed to dropping food on the floor. Do this with a leash on at first. Drop something on the floor, "LEAVE IT" and if she does, give her the treat in your other hand, but not the one on the floor. Pick that one up.

I can now drop a hot dog between my dog's paws and she won't touch it.:)

April 8th, 2005, 10:52 AM
I tend to use 'leave it' as a catch all for ' look at me and ignore whatever has your attention right now'. Meaning dropped food, barking dog, screaming kid...

I first taught it because his scrounging for food on our walk was driving me nuts. On leash, if he smelt or was picking at something on the ground, I'd tell him to 'leave it' and give a sharp tug on the leash. When he came to me, I'd give him a tidbit.

Ditto if he kept looking back at a biker or dog or whatenot. I'd say 'leave it' and give a tug. The tug was just to remind him of what the command meant.

for ignoreing food or an object on the ground when we're stationary, I now only use 'leave it' (meaning 'don't touch' though I'm usually too late, and use 'give it' more often) and to ignore a person or other object when we're walking, I'll use 'leave it' 'ignore it' 'lets go' 'come on' or I'll just click with my tongue. In that context, they all mean the same thing, 'stop what you're doing/looking at and follow me.' He understands my gist, so the words are unimportant.

I tend to growl rather than say 'no'. The problem with that word is that it tells the dog what he's doing is wrong, but not what to do to instead. Besides, the tone of voice is more important when he's wrong, not the words. And it's natural to growl in a low voice. Growling also tend to be more consitent. If a person says 'no' in one tone of voice and then again in another tone of voice later, dogs don't always make the conection that it means the same thing.