Teach your dog to “Leave it” and “Drop it”

Narrated from: Dog Training

These two commands are relatively easy to teach, but they will require patience on your part! They can be used for many different purposes such as when your dog takes off chasing a squirrel, and you shout “Leave it” and your beautifully trained dog stops mid-chase and comes back to you. The “drop it” command is great for teaching your dog to drop something he is eating that may harm him or save your child’s favorite toy that your dog knows he’s not supposed to have! You can think of other uses for them as we continue the lessons involved in teaching these commands.

To teach your dog to “leave it” use two sets of treats. You will have something special in your pocket such as chicken or hotdog that has been cut up into nibble sized pieces. For the other hand use something that’s really interesting but not as special as the meaty bites. Place the treat in your hand on the floor but do not remove your hand; keep it hovering just above the treat. He will move to check it out, but you will say “No, leave it” until he gives up. You will be amazed when he gets this, because he will literally turn his head away from the treat. As soon as he does that give him one of the better treats from your pocket as you pick up the treat he left. It is very important that you do not allow him to have the treat he left! Keep practicing this until he has it down completely. He should never take the one you told him to leave and you should always praise him so he knows he’s done it the way you want it done. Keep repeating until he does not need a second treat and only your praise.

To teach the “drop it” command you may first want to teach him to play tug-of-war with any tug toy. To teach the “drop it” command it helps to know the “hold it” command, but it can be done! Almost any dog will play tug of war with little or no coaching. Once he is holding the toy and you have wiggled it and played with him for a minute, stop pulling and be still but don’t let him take it from you. As he begins to calm down, tell him “Drop it” as you take your other hand and grip his upper or lower jaw with gentle pressure so he lets it go. Praise him exuberantly. Restart the game of tug and repeat the steps until you don’t need to touch him to get him to “drop it”. Always praise your dog when he gives you the desired result no matter what you are training him to do! While this may take some practice he will eventually learn that “Drop it” means to let it go. This will come in very handy if he ever gets hold of anything that may hurt him, such as a knife or a pill. If he has already learned the “Okay” command, you can use “Okay, drop it” and he will understand all three words!

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