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How to Teach Your Puppy to Leave Things Alone

Learn how to teach your puppy to leave something alone from dog trainer Robert Haussmann of Dogboy, Inc. in this dog training video from Howcast.


Teaching your dog to leave it is an essential basic command for a dog. You can make it a fun thing, try and keep the challenge out of it, all right? We have a tendency to grab our dog and leave it, leave it, which for a dog, they have a tendency to learn to guard things because they think we're coming to take it away. You need to change the dog's emotional response to this by saying, I'm coming to offer you something better, dropping it and leaving it is in your best interest, okay?

Now leave it and drop it are two different things. Drop it means it's in your mouth already, drop it, all right? Leave it means stop your investigation, okay, and it's in your best interest to stop the investigation, which again, be sure that you're practicing this in a controlled environment that you know the dog can handle. Don't bring him outside to a minefield of chicken bones, and expect him to leave it, he's not going to be able to do it yet until he's really, really good at this command.

So I'm putting a few pieces of high value cookie in my hand, and you can use his regular Kibble or something, this hand can be something that's less exciting, like Kibble or a low value treat. But while he's investigating this, I'm going to come over, and I'm going to say, here, leave it, leave it, good boy, all right. Leave it, oh good boy. So now, let's say, look, now he knows where the party is, all right, and it's up here with me. So it's going to be easier for him to listen to it. Apollo, leave it, leave it, yes. Apollo leave it, leave it, yes, good boy. All right, so we want to start getting to a place where he understands what it is we're asking from him. Leave it, yes, good boy.

So the next step to this, which will be a little bit harder, and I'm not sure Apollo is ready for this, so this might be really funny. I'm going to put him on the floor, just out of his reach, and he's really going to want it, and I'm keeping him away from it, and I'm going to say, Apollo, leave it, Apollo, leave it, yes. Apollo leave it, leave it, yes, good boy, leave it, yeah, good boy. So this is a little more challenging for him than it needs to be, because we're kind of rushing him through it, but the idea is that he sees something he is really interested in, Apollo leave it, yeah, all right. So we need to make it be more rewarding, and it's a little bit counter-intuitive for a dog to say, there is food, I must have it, and then have him ignore it and come focus back up on us. So this is repetition, repetition, repetition, until you can do this where you're walking past it, asking him to leave it, he looks up, big rewards for Apollo, okay? This is kind of just scratching the surface, but this is how you teach your dog to leave it.

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