Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Teaching Your Dog to Leave It Around Food, Toys, and Other Temptations

Teaching Your Dog to Leave It Around Food, Toys, and Other Temptations

Teach your pup the “leave it” command! It’s an important skill for pet parents. This command can prevent your furry friend from eating something dangerous or destroying valuable items. Here’s how:

  1. Hold a treat in your closed hand and say “leave it”.
  2. Wait for your pup to cease trying to get the treat. Then, give them a different treat from your other hand as a reward.
  3. Do this process multiple times. Gradually make it more difficult. Place the treat on the floor then introduce toys or other distractions.

With patience and consistency, your pup will learn to obey the “leave it” command even when tempted. Pro Tip: Use positive reinforcement, like praise and rewards, to reward good behaviour.

Why teaching ‘Leave it’ should be a priority for all dog owners

Teaching your pooch the ‘Leave it’ command is a must-have skill. It’s great for you and your pup. It helps to keep them in line when they want food, toys, or other distractions on walks or in many other situations. Do it early and save yourself trouble in the future.

Let’s look at why ‘Leave it’ should be a priority for all doggy owners!

Preventing accidental ingestion of harmful substances

Teach your pup ‘Leave it‘! This command is key for avoiding accidental ingestion of harmful substances. You must prioritize it as a dog owner.

Leave it‘ helps your pooch resist or ignore anything they find tempting, like toxins or items that can cause choking.

Follow these steps to teach your pup:

  1. Hold a treat tightly in your palm and say ‘Leave it.’
  2. Wait for them to stop trying to get the treat, then reward them with another treat or praise.
  3. Make it more challenging by placing treats on the floor or using something more enticing. Repeat the process.
  4. Once your pup’s got it down, practice it daily in real-life situations and keep rewarding them for responding correctly.

Preventing resource guarding

Resource guarding is a common doggy behavior. It happens when they become possessive over their goodies like food, toys, and other items. So teaching them to “Leave it” is essential. Here’s how:

  1. Start in a quiet room with your pup on a leash and treats in hand.
  2. Show them the treat and say “Leave it” in a firm but gentle voice.
  3. Wait for them to show interest. As soon as they try to grab it, say “No” and turn away.
  4. Wait for them to calm down. Give them a different treat as a reward.
  5. Practice and increase the level of temptation. Reward good behavior.

By consistently doing this, your pup will learn to “Leave it” and you’ll avoid resource-guarding issues.

Promoting good manners and obedience

Teaching your pup the “Leave it” command can be a must-have! It can save them from eating something bad, chewing on shoes or furniture. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Put a low-value treat in one hand, close your fist around it, and say “leave it”.
  2. Wait ’til they stop trying to get the treat.
  3. As soon as they do, say “Yes!” and give them a high-value treat from your other hand.
  4. Repeat this, increasing the value of the treats each time.
  5. Once your dog has mastered it, practice in real-life situations with different items e.g. shoes or toys.
  6. No punishing when they don’t obey, just practice and reward when they do succeed!

Techniques for teaching ‘Leave it’

Teach your dog the ‘leave it’ command! It’s a great way to protect your pup and show respect for their environment. Plus, it’s the perfect foundation for obedience training. Find out how with these techniques!

Positive reinforcement and the use of treats

Teaching your pup to “leave it” regarding food, toys and other temptations?

Positive reinforcement and treats will do the trick! Here’s how:

  1. Hold a treat in your fist and let your dog sniff and paw at it.
  2. Say “leave it” when they stop. Instantly say “good boy/girl” and give them a different treat from your other hand.
  3. Do this over and over, gradually increasing the time between the command and the reward.
  4. Practice with different objects and situations.

Don’t forget: always use positive reinforcement like treats and verbal praise. Fear and anxiety can come from punishment or negative reinforcement, leading to bad behavior.

Gradual exposure and desensitization

“Leave It” is a great command. It can help keep your pup safe and well-behaved. Training them to obey this command requires time and patience.

But, 2 techniques can make it easier:

  1. Gradual exposure means introducing your dog to the thing they must leave alone, gradually. For example, if they go after food on the counter, start with a low-value treat and the “Leave It” command.
  2. Desensitization involves increasing their exposure to the thing they must leave alone. For instance, if they chase other dogs on walks, start at a distance and reward them with treats.

Over time, your dog will learn to heed the “Leave It” command, even in tough circumstances.

Consistency and repetition

Consistency and repetition are key for teaching your pup to “leave it” around food, toys, and other enticements. Follow these steps:

  1. Introduce the command “leave it” to your dog.
  2. Give your pup a treat in a closed fist.
  3. Wait until your pup stops trying to get the treat (pawing, licking, etc.). Then say “leave it” and open your hand to give the treat.
  4. Repeat this several times so your pup connects the command “leave it” with leaving attempts.
  5. Then upgrade to more tempting items, such as toys or food on the floor.
  6. Every time your pup tries to approach the item, say “leave it” and reward them with a different treat or toy they enjoy.
  7. Repeat this several times a day, every day, until your pup learns to respond to the command consistently.

Pro tip: Be patient and consistent with your training. It may take days or even weeks for your pup to learn and obey the “leave it” command. Repetition and positive reinforcement techniques will help you succeed.

Applying ‘Leave it’ in real-life situations

Train your pup the ‘Leave it‘ command. It’s a handy ability! If they’re on a walk, they can ignore alluring stuff. Plus, it can help if they find something hazardous or unsafe. But, teaching them ‘Leave it’ can be difficult in real life. Here we’ll give you tips for making sure your pup grasps the command.

‘Leave it’ around food and treats

“Leave it!” is a vitally important command to teach your pup. It’s essential for their safety in real-world scenarios, especially when food or treats are around.

Every dog owner should teach this to their canine companion. Here’s how you can do it for yummy snacks, toys, or any other temptation:

  1. Put a low-value treat in your palm and present it to your pup.
  2. Speak firmly but kindly and say “leave it”.
  3. Wait until they stop pawing at your hand and trying to get the treat.
  4. When they stop, give them a high-value treat and praise them.
  5. Gradually increase the level of temptation and repeat the process with different items.

With regular training, your pup will learn to stay away from whatever you tell them to “leave it” – be it food, toys, or any other temptation.

‘Leave it’ around unfamiliar objects and toys

Train your pup to “leave it” near strange objects and toys. This is key for safety and to ensure they obey your orders. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a treat in your hand, show it to your pup, and say “leave it”.
  2. If they try to take it, close your hand and repeat the command.
  3. After a few tries, reward them with a different treat or praise when they ignore the treat.
  4. Once they get the hang of it, introduce unfamiliar objects or toys and do the same process.

By using the “leave it” command in actual situations, your pup can learn to stay away from food, toys, or other attractions that could be harmful. Keep praising and rewarding them regularly when you train them. This will help them to obey the command better.

‘Leave it’ while on walks and hikes

“Leave it” is a great command to have your pup know while on hikes and walks. Teaching them to ‘leave it’ around food, toys, and other enticements, can help keep them safe and stop unwanted habits. Here’s how to use it in reality:

  1. Train your pup the ‘leave it’ command at home with treats or toys.
  2. As soon as they’ve got the command down, start using it during walks and hikes.
  3. If they try to smell or eat something they shouldn’t, tell them ‘leave it’ and give them a reward when they obey.
  4. Be consistent and reward them each time they listen.

By teaching them ‘leave it’, you can relax on walks and hikes with your pet, not worrying about them being in dangerous or unsuitable situations. Always use positive reinforcement and patience when training your pup.

Pro tip: Use a firm but gentle voice when giving the ‘leave it’ command. Follow it up with a treat or reward.

Common challenges and troubleshooting

Teaching your pup to ‘leave it’ around food, toys, and other temptations is vital. Yet, even with the best intentions and training, issues can arise. Luckily, with some alterations in your technique and problem-solving, you can aid your dog to ace the ‘leave it’ command. Let’s explore some typical troubles and how to handle them in this article.

Overcoming distractions and competing motivators

Train your pup to “leave it” around food, toys and other distractions. Overcome these temptations to secure a successful learning experience. Here are some hints:

  • Increase the gap between them and the object.
  • Offer higher-value treats.
  • Practice in multiple settings.
  • Use positive reinforcement for success.
  • Punishments should be omitted.

With patience and care, your dog will learn to leave on command.

Dealing with stubbornness and refusal to ‘Leave it’

Training your pup to ‘leave it’ is a must. Yet, many dogs can be uncooperative and reject the command when it comes to food, toys, and other temptations. Work out the cause and find a solution.

Here’s why your pup may not ‘leave it’ and tips to tackle it:

  • Hunger: If pup’s very hungry, they may find it hard to resist food. Feed pup before training and make sure they get enough food.
  • Possessive: Some dogs become possessive of their toys and treats. Start with low-value rewards and step up to high-value ones.
  • Distraction: If pup gets distracted easily, it’s hard to focus on your command. Train in a quiet environment and add distractions gradually.
  • Training technique: Use positive reinforcement techniques when training pup to ‘leave it.’ No punishments, reward desired behavior.

Pro Tip: Consistency is key. Stick to a routine, keep training sessions short but regular, and reward good behavior.

Ensuring safety and preventing accidents during training sessions

When teaching your pup to “Leave It” around food, toys and other distractions during training, safety and prevention are key. Here are some tips to help:


  • Choose a secure, distraction-free area.
  • Keep hazardous objects away.
  • Use equipment like a leash, muzzle or head collar, if needed.


  • Begin with simple commands and increase difficulty gradually.
  • Use treats and praise for good behavior.
  • Monitor your pup and intervene if needed.
  • Be patient and consistent.

Common Challenges and Troubleshooting:

  • Too distracted? Increase the distance from temptation and slowly decrease it as they improve.
  • Too scared or aggressive? Get professional help from a dog trainer.
  • Not responsive? Reassess your training methods and adjust.

By following these tips, you can create a safe and effective training environment for your furry pal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is “leave it” and why should I teach it to my dog?

“Leave it” is a command that teaches your dog to ignore distractions and resist temptation, particularly around food, toys, or other items they may want to chew or play with. Teaching your dog this command can prevent destructive behavior, promote good manners, and keep them safe by avoiding dangerous items.

2. How do I teach my dog to “leave it”?

Start by holding a treat or toy in your hand, say “leave it,” and then withhold the item. When your dog stops trying to get the item, reward them with a different treat or toy. Gradually increase the difficulty by placing the item closer or using more tempting items. Repetition and consistency are key for success.

3. Can I use positive reinforcement to teach my dog to “leave it”?

Yes, positive reinforcement is the most effective method for teaching your dog to “leave it.” Reward your dog with treats, toys, or praise when they successfully ignore the distraction and follow your command.

4. Is it possible that teaching my dog to “leave it” can make them more aggressive?

No, teaching your dog to “leave it” will not make them more aggressive. In fact, it can have the opposite effect by training them to control their impulses and avoid confrontations over toys or food.

5. What should I do if my dog doesn’t respond to the “leave it” command?

If your dog doesn’t respond to the “leave it” command, it may be because the item is too tempting or they haven’t fully mastered the command yet. Go back to the basics and start with less tempting items or work on the command in a calmer environment.

6. Should I only use the “leave it” command during training sessions?

No, you should practice using the “leave it” command during everyday situations where your dog may be tempted by food or toys. Consistency is key for your dog to fully understand and obey the command.

Unleash Your Dog's Full Potential

Pages does not intend to provide veterinary advice. While we provide information resources and canine education, the content here is not a substitute for veterinary guidance.

Get In Touch © 2024. All Rights Reserved.