Leave It

Devo12.20.14 (1)

Devo here knows “leave it” — at least as far as the ducks are concerned.

It’s hard to teach your dog to not do something.

Dogs like to do the things that please us. When you tell your dog something is wrong or bad, all she knows for sure is that you’re cranky right now. Maybe you had a bad day at work? Your dog is not sure, and her normal reaction would be to get out of your way until you can be more reasonable. This makes negative lessons very hard.

So how do you teach a dog to NOT do something? The key is to turn the lesson positive.

An example is LEAVE IT, a great command for leaving alone exciting cars whizzing past, yummy-looking bones, and the doorbell ringing.

This is how it’s done:

1, Take a small treat that fits in the palm of your hand. Show your dog your hand with the treat firmly hidden in your fist. Tell her the command. Let her sniff and nudge at your hand. When she leaves it alone, give her the treat. Repetition is the key here.

2. Doing this several times a day would be a good idea.

3. Then off and on, whenever you are playing with your dog and giving her treats, hold one tight in your fist first and give her the command.

4. As soon as she stops nudging your hand, give her the treat.

5. When she gets good at this, try putting the goodie on the floor, (like with Abby, above). Then the release command is TAKE IT.

This will keep the command  — and release — fresh in her mind. It can also be a lot of fun. An extra bonus, at least from Devo’s perspective: a regular supply of goodies!

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