Teaching Leave It



The second of our two lifesaving behaviors, leave it is one of the first commands your dog needs to know to keep him away from anything you don’t want him to touch, including dangerous foods.


  1. Place a low value treat in one hand and the high value treat in the other behind your back. Say the cue “leave it” and present your dog with the low value treat in a closed palm. Your dog will likely use his mouth and paws to try to get to the treat, but keep your hand closed so that he isn’t able to. 
  2. The moment your dog stops trying to get to the treat mark the behavior with a clicker or your marker word “yes.” Then present them with the higher value treat that was behind your back. 
  3. Switch hands and repeat this exercise until your dog looks straight to you when you give the “leave it” cue, instead of pawing at the hand with the treat. 
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 making the steps more challenging each time by presenting the low value treat in an open hand, on the ground and finally dropping it on the ground.

Tips from the Dogologist

Always work at your dogs level. If they appear to regress when you make the training more challenging just go back to the last step until they are able to succeed 100%.

Use high value treats that your dog associates only with this command such as cheese or liver paste.

Virtual Dog Training

For help with this lesson, which can be difficult to get through, schedule Virtual Training. We'd love to help.