Teaching your dog to ignore something on cue! I love the cue leave it because it can be both a fun party trick and an emergency cue to prevent your dog from eating something they shouldn’t! When I work with reactive dogs, I often try to teach this cue first and then do more steps to generalize the cue to the triggers that they are reactive towards! (Note: if your dog is reactive to other dogs or people via barking, lunging, or growling, please call a force-free positive reinforcement trainer to help you.)

We teach this cue via “capturing.” I put the treat down on the ground, cover it with my hand, and just wait until I can catch Sydney leaving it alone anyway. Sydney already understands the concept of the game, but for many dogs you’ll need to be patient and just wait until they eventually ignore the treat, that way you can mark and reward- with a DIFFERENT treat! I do not reward my dog with the treat that I asked them to “leave it” towards, as I don’t want them in the habit of getting that thing if it turns out to be something toxic outside of a training session.

As my dog begins to understand to be patient to get the treat under my hand, I move on to drop the treat and quickly cover it with my foot to simulate what happens in real life when you drop something. I then add my verbal or visual cue (which I don’t think I did very effectively in the video- always room for improvement!) and repeat that exercise until I have a dog who hesitates when I drop something, in anticipation for a different treat from my hand.



Finally, I can gauge my dog’s understanding of the leave it cue by asking them to leave it, and putting it on the ground a fair distance away. If Sydney would have gone for it, I would have just picked it up and gone back a step.

Good job Sydney! 


If your dog is successful, then work on using the cue leave it for different items and making the object closer to your dog when giving the leave it cue!


Good luck, like and subscribe, and be sure to reach out if you have any questions!

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Happy training, Savannah & Sydney Follow me on Facebook and Instagram – Savvy Dog Training – @SavvyDT

I also offer tele-training – contact me at savannahlefors2@gmail.com or (904) 242-6772