Leave itThis command is very good to prevent your dog from picking different (bad) things from the ground when you're having a walk. It's also useful to let your dog know you don't want it to touch certain things in your house, like a child's toy or a pair of your favourite shoes that your dog may want to chew on. It's also very helpful when you have to introduce a new cat to the resident dog.
Get your dog's attention by saying his or her name, and show it you have a treat in your hand. As soon as the dog is interested in the treat, command "leave it," and close your hand so the dog cannot get the treat. At first, most dogs will stick their nose in your hand and possibly nibble on your fingers or paw at your hand in an attempt to get to the treat. As soon as the dog loses interest in the treat, praise it and give it a treat. NOTE: the treat you give should be different from the one you told the dog to leave. Don't praise the dog if it accidentally to get the hidden treat, otherwise you'll encourage it to try harder to get it next time.
Once the dog ignores your hand after you say "leave it", increase the time you make it wait for the reward. Start with a few seconds and gradually build it up to several minutes. When your dog ignores your hand for at least 5 minutes, you can begin to move the treat. Put it on the floor at some distance from your dog, but have your hand ready to cover it in case your dog attempts to take it. Once your dog patiently leaves the treat untouched for the amount of time you determine, move the delicious thing a little closer to the dog.
After several training sessions, you can begin to step away from the treat. Drop a treat on the floor while you're standing, and command the dog to "leave it". Have your foot ready to cover the treat should your dog want to get it. Slowly increase your distance from the treat. It can take several training sessions, but that's absolutely normal. Don't rush the process. Every dog is different, and some may need a little more time to understand the meaning of the command.
As soon as your dog leaves treats at your command, you can start experimenting with other things like toys. The dog will eventually learn to leave items where they are as soon as it hears the command.
Drop itThe "drop it" command is used when you want your dog to drop (release) whatever it is holding in its mouth.
Offer your dog its favourite toy. When your dog has taken it, say "drop it" in a clear, firm, and confident voice. At the same time, hold a treat in front of the dog's nose. As soon as the dog releases the toy, give it the treat. If your dog doesn't want to drop the toy, try wiggling the treat or holding it closer to the nose. It's extremely important that you NEVER try to pull the toy from its mouth or open its jaws. It can be understood as a game or punishment, and it will only make the dog be more possessive of what it's holding. Do NOT try to claim the toy by force. Instead, be more patient and persistent than your dog. These are the qualities you should have as a pack leader. Sooner or later, it will release the toy. As soon as it does, repeat the command and give it the treat. Repeat the exercise until you see the dog is progressing. Little by little, try holding the treat farther away. Then, try the command without the treat, praising your dog if it obeys. Practise this command randomly when your dog is holding something in its mouth.
If your dogs attempts to run away with the toy, the exercise should be done while the dog is on the leash.
You can use "give" or "release" instead of "drop it". However, make sure you don't use words and word combinations that are not clear enough and that can be confused with something else. For example, "let go" can easily be confused with "let's go".
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