Training Tip Tuesday - Training the "Leave It" Cue in the Real World
Not only is the Leave It cue very handy in everyday life with your dog – but it is also very easy to train!
START IN THE LIVING ROOM
A good place to start is in your living. Remember, the Leave It cue doesn’t mean your dog has done anything wrong. It just means they need to redirect their attention. Anytime your dog is not looking at you is a good time to cue Leave It. You simply want him to disengage from what he is doing and give you his attention.
- Grab a handful of treats and just stand around in the living room about five feet away from your dog.
- The moment your dog looks away, cue Leave It.
- If he looks at you, say Yes’ to mark the moment he got it right.
- Entice him to come back to you for the treat.
LEAVE IT ON WALKS
Training your dog to Leave It on walks is a little different than in the house or in a controlled environment – but it is still just as easy! All you need is a dog, a leash, and some yummy treats.
Remember, Leave It doesn’t mean your dog has done anything wrong. So, anytime your dog is not looking at you on a walk, it is a very good time to train Leave It.
- Start walking.
- The moment your dog looks away from you, or stops to sniff that clump of grass, cue Leave It and immediately start backing up.
- As you back up your dog will have to come with you.
- The moment he has to turn to head in your direction, say ‘Yes’ to mark the behavior and then entice him to come to you for a treat.
During a training session, remember practice makes perfect so train, train, train! During a training, repeat your Leave It cue about five times in a row. Strive to have five to six mini training sessions a day.
- The moment you cue Leave It, immediately start backing up.
- Don’t stand in one stop and continue to repeat Leave It over and over again.
- With enough practice, it will become a habit for your dog to disengage and give you his attention the moment he hears the cue.
Be sure to alternate locations with each training session.
- Think about all the scenarios where you might want your dog to disengage from a particular activity and try to train for that exact scenario in advance.
- Once your dog is performing well in the house, start training in different environments.
- Take it to the backyard.
- Take it into a room with a lot of family activity.
- Interrupt that play session with the other family pet.
If your dog doesn’t immediately turn around when you cue Leave It – don’t panic. He is most likely so into what he is doing that he hasn’t even heard you!
So, the next time you cue Leave It and your dog doesn’t immediately turn around, simply smooch your lips together or clap your hands to get his attention. When he turns around to see what all the ruckus is about, say ‘Yes’ to mark the behavior and then entice him to come back to you for the treat.
Remember, not only is the Leave It cue very handy in everyday life with your dog – but it is also very easy to train!