Leave it is a great tool to keep your dog from focusing on something in the environment.
From cars, to poop, to dead animals, a solid “leave it” can prevent your dog from pulling you down the street, lunging toward those things, eating crud, or barking. If you’ve already taught the basic leave it, and the advanced leave it, you’re ready to take leave it on the road!
Here’s how to start the moving leave it.
- Start with a mildly distracting item.
- Place it on the ground about 3 feet off to the side.
- Put yourself between the dog and the item (this makes it easier for the dog to get it right)
- Start with a few clicks and treats as you’re approaching the item.
- It’s important to click and treat before your dog is distracted.
- Say in a happy voice “Leave it” (or whatever your word is — ours is “not yours” for Levi).
- Click and treat the instant the dog looks at your or leaves the item alone.
- If the dog can’t look away from the item, you have two choices:
- Use a less interesting item or
- Move further away from the item
- When the dog has been successful a few times, move a little closer.
Carry your clicker and your treats with you on your regular walks and cue the “leave it” when your dog is only mildly interested in something. You want to capture as many “you’re right!” opportunities as possible. You’re building a new habit! The habit is: when the dog hears “leave it,” he swivels his head and looks at your direction. The more times you can get success, the faster this habit will be built.
It’s really as easy as it sounds — as long as you practice and you set your dog up for success.