Leave it – Further Steps
Now you can move on to a more challenging step. You can do this inside or outside. Before the training session (out of your dog’s sight), place an interesting object, such as a small pile of dog biscuits, or even a pile of smelly socks, where your dog will see it. You will still need enticing treats on hand for this step, such as bits of hot dog wiener. Put your dog on a leash and then walk in the vicinity of the object, close enough that he sees it but not close enough that he can reach it with his mouth as you approach. Once your dog has spied the object and is walking purposefully toward it to investigate, say “leave it”. If your dog pulls against the leash to try to get at the object, stop walking and wait for him to look back at you and sit politely. When he does, give praise and a wiener treat from your handy bag. Then continue walking forward, past the object, but still just out of range of it. It is important that your dog cannot actually reach the object at this point, for if he does manage to scoop up a biscuit or snuffle those socks, he has rewarded himself for grabbing something off the ground.
If your dog is determined to get at the object and continues to pull at the leash, ignoring your “leave it” command, walk in the opposite direction so that he must follow you. Once away from the object, have him sit politely and look at you, then give him a treat. Try walking past the obstacle once again. If he continues to pull toward the object, you may need to go back to the beginning and practise step one again.
In future posts we will take a look at even more “leave it” challenges for your dog.