Leave it is one of the most useful things you can teach your pal, which you will be greatly thanking yourself down the road for! Think about all the times you two will be out for a pleasant afternoon stroll and then all of the sudden, Buddy sees some garbage and tries to eat it, and you have to go fishing down his throat for it. Or even worse, he chews and swallows a chicken bone that could be very harmful! That’s why teaching ‘leave it’ can be very helpful in the long run.
Start off by booby-trapping an area to train your pup to the ‘leave it’ command, set up some toys, chews, or bones starting with the least value items first. Get your pup with leash in hand and of course with any training session you need to have a good amount of tasty treats ready to keep pup motivated! Start walking through your booby-trapped course, having your pup focusing on you and the treats. After you walk by the first few distractions, your pup may or may not try and go for them or just continue focusing on you, but once you get closer to one of his favourite bones, he is bound to try and make a break for it. The second he has made the decision to notice it, and the wheels are turning, and he’s about to lunge you yell in your best mom voice ‘LEAVE IT.’ This, of course, will get your puppies attention and hopefully, he will stop what he is doing and resorts to looking up at you. The second he does this you reward him like crazy for looking up at you rather than going to the distraction. Continue doing this until pup gets the hang of it. It may take lots of practice considering he does have to choose to pass by some very high-value items but the more you reward, the more likely he is going to choose you and the treats over his distracting bone and toy. After you think he has the hang of it bring this method out into the real world! Take your pup and his new skill and test it out on a piece of garbage and see how he does. It will all be worth saving yourself the trouble of not having to search for garbage in their mouth!
We have all been there, going over to a friends or family members house and entering while having the house pet overly excited and jumping on top of you or in other cases barking aggressively because you have entered their territory. Both of these are very bad puppy behaviour which needs to stop immediately. Which is why you need to have a designated mat in the house where the pup can go to when people are coming over.
This mat should be in view of the door and major parts of the house; you still want your fluffy friend to see what is happening just not be a part of the action, or at least until you say it is ok to be. You start off by having Buddy lay down on the mat and make it the best thing ever! Give him so many treats just for being on the special mat, after a while start to space the treats out, so he has to wait for them a little. Over time he will become a pro at this, and that’s when you can move to part two of your doorbell training.
Now, this is when Puppy is still on the mat, and you go over to the door and open it, going in and out of it, chances are puppy will think someone is there and get up to see! This is not what he should be doing so back on the mat he goes. Keeps repeating this until he understands the mat is where he needs to be regardless of what is happening at the door. And once again treats will be your best friend for teaching this. You want to keep him motivated.
Part three of the doorbell training is the doorbell itself. Have puppy on his mat, and he will most likely go to it on his own at this point because he knows if he is on his mat he will get treats. Go and ring it, he will most probably leave his mat because that means that someone must be coming over. That is when you have to show or tell him no, you stay on the mat even if the doorbell is making sounds. Repeat this a bunch of times until he has got it. When he is ready, start introducing people coming and ringing the doorbell, at first he may think its another test round and not leave but when he sees there are actually people coming in Buddy will most likely get up. You show him back to his mat, and he does not get off until you say. This will take time and lots of treats, but over time you will have some thrilled and very impressed guests when they see how Buddy is happily on his mat when they arrive.
Written by Jenica Lucius, CCR