Training Tip Tuesday - Overview of the Leave It cue
When I am working with a new dog, one of the first cues I train is Leave It.
Leave It simply means disengage from your current activity. It is easy to train and very useful. My dog’s hear it multiple times a day. That doesn’t mean they are bad dogs. They are just dogs. They sometimes choose an activity that I don’t think is appropriate. Leave It is a great way to keep them out of trouble and bring peace to the household without all that yelling or screaming.
Your dog is barking at a squirrel out the window – Leave It. Your dog is trying to lick the pudding off your toddler’s hand – Leave It. Your dog wants to pull you across the street to meet that dog – Leave It.
In all of these scenarios, Leave It should get our dog to disengage. But Leave It doesn’t simply mean back up. Leave It means back away and turn your head, your attention, toward me. If you ask your dog to leave something but allow him to continue to stare at it he will most likely go back to the exact same behavior. Getting your dog to turn his attention to you gives you a chance to offer up a new activity.
Your dog is barking at a squirrel out the window. Leave It and come sit by me. Your dog is trying to lick the pudding off your toddler’s hand. Leave It and go to your bed with this bully stick. Your dog wants to pull you across the street to meet that dog. Leave It and continue walking.
Leave It is a great cue. But Leave It is only half the battle. Leave It will get your dog to disengage and direct his attention toward you. But you must provide an alternate activity or he will most likely go back to what he was doing to begin with.
Tune in next week to see the first steps in training Leave It for items under your control.