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Leave it!

Updated on July 27, 2014

Why "leave it"?

Leave it means exactly that. To leave what ever you want them to leave alone. A few good examples could be 1) I work with therapy dogs and have taken them to visits at senior centers. Some of the folks living there do receive medicines and what If one day pills are dropped onto the floor? You want to be able to tell your dog to leave it and walk away 2) I've gone on hikes with my dog and there on the ground she sees a dead bird, the first thing she wants to do is go and investigate. Wouldn't that be nice to tell your dog to leave it? 3) Of course there is always children's toys, other dogs, garbage, even cool behaviors like sitting a treat on the nose of your dog can steam from the behavior leave it.



  1. Collect your leash
  2. Treats-Best treats to have are pea size treats that are of high value. I would use special treats for training so the dog is excited to work. If they are very food motivated it is known to use kibble to reward. That way they get a full meal while you are training and eating.
  3. Positive attitude.


  1. It is always easiest to have your dog on a leash so not to run off on you. Depending on the size of the animal you can either sit, kneel, or stand.
  2. Have a treat to show the dog one hand and at least five more in the other hand to reward.
  3. Hold the single treat in between your fingers. Enough for the dog to smell but not actually take from you.
  4. Say "Leave it" and wait.
  5. The dog will try to eat it off your hands.
  6. Do not allow him to get the treat and stay calm and quiet.
  7. He will get bored and even for a second look up at you as if he was wondering "what's going on".
  8. At that moment bridge and treat from the hand with the extra treats!
  9. Repeat this over and over until your spare treats are gone
  10. When you get to the last treat I always like to ask for a known behavior and give that treat as a reward. (Some people want "leave it" to be just "leave it forever", not "leave it until I say so". Especially while in the hospital setting. So not allowing them to have that last treat shows them that when you say "leave it" it doesn't mean you can eventually have it, because they may not be able too.
  11. Continue that repeatedly over a few sessions.
  12. You will notice that he responds faster and faster to your "leave it".
  13. Once he leaves the treat alone as soon as you say you can raise the bar a bit.
  14. You can put your dog in a down or sit. Place the treat on the floor in front of him. ( not too close so he can just grab it). Place your hand over the treat and say the words "leave it"
  15. Slowly raise your hand showing the treat a bit.
  16. If he tries to grab the treat drop your hand to the ground quick to block the treat.
  17. Repeat this over several sessions. As he starts to understand, you can raise your hand higher and also bring the treats closer and closer.
  18. Now he has the basics of "leave it"


Has your dog even gotten to something because he/she didn't know leave it?

See results

More way to practice leave it!

All these behaviors can be continued off of the steps above:

  • Walking past treats or toys that you do not want him to grab.
  • Continue working on the floor until your able to place the treats on your dogs paws.
  • Practice stay and placing the treats on your dogs nose.

Thank you for reading! I hope you follow and continue to get great training tips!


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I appreciate your kind and groneeus advice a lot!. I have been trying it hardly and did not get those amazing results!. It is nice to see that you got my comment in a good way!God bless you!VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait VA:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)

    • Ariel-Cal profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 

      4 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Truthfornow--Thank you so much! It is a very important and useful behavior. During visits at assisted living facilities where we bring our therapy dogs, you never know what will get dropped or knocked over and you never want your dog to "pick" it up first!

    • Ariel-Cal profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 

      4 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Thanks Frank!!

    • Ariel-Cal profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 

      4 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Thank you Enjoy life and Cheevers!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      very good tips .. useful

    • enjoy life profile image

      enjoy life 

      4 years ago from Europe

      Good tips. Some of my dogs listen when told to leave things alone. However one of them only listens when there's food involved for her. She is incredibly obedient when she knows you have a treat, but won't listen at other times when you need her to leave something alone.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      leave it is a command as truth has already said can be helpful because of what is picked up ...:) great hub :)

    • truthfornow profile image

      Marie Hurt 

      4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      This seems like some very useful information because dogs can pick up a lot of stuff that can actually be harmful. Leave It seems like one of the most important things to learn. Voted up and useful.


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