By Lisa S.
Many people know that “come” and “stay” are two commands that will save your dog’s life. In my opinion, a third command, “leave it”, is just as essential. “Leave it” is training your dog to ignore an object or food until you say it is okay to approach – or not. It is a great and useful verbal tool to help with impulse control and to reinforce your role as the alpha, the leader and protector of the pack.
“Leave it” has many uses that can be practiced with your dog both at home and when you’re out. When you are walking, you know that the garbage in the road is unclean and you shouldn’t go near it. But, your dog sees it as delicious treat and to them, it smells alluring. Teaching them the “leave it” command can save your dog from potential messes they could cause or illnesses that could happen upon checking it out. Once your dog has mastered the command, he knows that he should ignore it unless you tell him it is okay to investigate. The same thing applies in the home. If you drop a pill, break a glass, or drop some food that the dog is not supposed to have, there is no mad scramble to get there before your dog. A simple, verbal “leave it” will let your dog know that he should ignore the object.
Teaching the command is fairly simple and dogs usually master it pretty quickly. A good article that sums it up quickly can be found at here. There are also several videos by various dog trainers on YouTube found here and here.
Once your dog has mastered the command, don’t forget to continue to practice! It is a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet that can keep them safe and happy!