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How to Teach your Dog to Refuse Food

Updated on June 24, 2013

Teaching your dog to ''leave it'' is fairly easy

Teaching your dog to refuse food on demand can be very helpful in different scenarios. It can help stop your dog from begging food all the time, it can help you teach your dog good manners and it can also be a life saver because it may prevent your dog from eatingforeign objects or toxic substances. In order to effectively teach food refusal your dog should be familiar with or learn the followingcommands:



Drop it

Leave it


How to Teach ''Stay'' and ''OK''

Teaching a dog stay is not a hard task. Have your dog sit or lay down and stop your dog in the tracks before getting up by repeatedly saying the word ''stay''. If your dog gets up regardless, try to put him back in a sit or lay down and repeat. Use your open hand to emphasize the command as you walk away. Then from a distance call your dog to you and praise. Once your dog gets familiar with the command you can apply it to food.

At your dog's dinner time, tell your dog to sit or lay down. Place the food bowl a few steps away and say the word ''stay''. If your dog comes running to you, block him in your tracks and put him back in a sit and repeat the ''stay'' command. Once your dog gets the message that he must stay, say ''ok'' and take a few steps back so your dog understands he may eat now. It takes some time to learn, but most dogseventually get it.

This exercise can be repeated when offering treats. Put your dog in a sit or lay down stay and place a piece of food in front of him. Tell him to stay and then step back and say ''ok''. To work well, this command should be repeated on a daily basis, so incorporating this command each time you give food and treats can be helpful.

The ''stay'' and Ok command are very helpful. It prevents your dog from being all over you when you give water or food, it teaches manners and it makes you look as a leader in charge of your dog's resources.

How to Teach Drop it

In order to teach the drop it command you must have your dog in a quiet room and keep some toys and treats. Have your dog sit and give him a toy. When your dog starts chewing on the toy, say ''drop it'' and show a treat. Very likely the dog will drop the toy and come to you to trade for the treat. Take the toy anf give the treat. Repeat now without showing the treat. Keep it in the pocket and give it only once your dog drops the toy. Repeat unti the dog spontaneously drops the toy with only the voice command.

The drop it command is a great tool for when your dog gets something in his mouth he is not supposed to have. It could save your dog's life if you notice he has a mouse bait or a dead animal in his mouth. The drop it command is also helpful when you want to collect a toy from him and put it away. Always remember to be fair and trade whatever is in his mouth for another toy or treat.

How to Teach Leave it

While drop it teaches your dog to drop whatever he has in his mouth, the leave it command teaches your dog not to pick up the object whatsoever in the first place. This is accomplished by placing a toy nearby and saying ''leave it'' as soon as the dog approaches to get it. If your dog gets the toy regardless, say ''no'' and repeat. The moment your dog ''leaves it'' call him to you and give the treat. When you are ready to have your dog have the toy, put him in a sit, place the toy in front of him, say ''stay'' and then say ''ok''.

How to teach the Off Command

The off command comes handy when you do not want your dog near you. You can accomplish this by sitting on the couch and when your dog comes near you with a hand signal say in your firm voice ''off'' and then toss him a treat for getting out of your way. If your dog gets into the habit of keeping on coming back, say "off" the moment he moves away reward with a stuffed kong or an interactive toy then can keep him busy. Most dogs that are in your face are simply bored and looking for something to do.

This command also comes handy when you are working and do not want your dog anywhere near you. Like if you are painting, you do not want your dog to come nearby and lick off some toxic fresh paint.This teaches your dogs limits and respect for your boundaries. In a food related circumstance, your dog can be kept away from coming close to you and eating those crumbs of chocolate cake that are left on the floor. Of course, if your dog gets near you, you can still resort to''leave it'' and if he gets some cake in his mouth you can say ''drop it'' and he may spit out some crumbs if they are not too stuck in his saliva.

Now that your dog knows stay, OK, leave it, drop it and off, your dog has learned manners and food refusal. However, keep in mind that dogs can be sneaky and they may still eat that piece of cake that was left sitting on the kitchen table if he knows you are not around.


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    • yougottheguy profile image

      Bala 4 years ago from India

      Sure! Thanks for helping me out!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

      Training your dog is fun and it will help you get more bonded together, have fun with it!

    • yougottheguy profile image

      Bala 4 years ago from India

      Great stuff! I have dog that I haven't decided to teach yet, Or I should say I didn't know how to!!!

      I do know now. Thanks to you, Alex!

    • profile image

      toufic 7 years ago

      amazing tips :)