Imagine you’ve just dropped a chicken bone on the kitchen floor at dinner time. Or there’s a snake in the grass and your dog is heading toward it? Maybe a guest accidentally drops an antibiotic pill in the bathroom and your dog sees it. Or perhaps it’s a half-eaten chocolate bar on the sidewalk while you’re out walking?
The last thing you want is for your dog to go racing toward a dangerous item and scarfing it down. Cooked bones are a choking hazard! The snake could be venomous. The antibiotic could be toxi And that chocolate bar will mean a costly trip to the emergency clinic. Ensuring your dog understands everything on the ground isn’t up for grabs can be potentially life-saving – which is why we teach “Leave It” in all our Puppy/Beginner 101 classes. In a series of steps, we show how to make “Leave It” a staple of training. Why? Because you never know when you will need it.
For me, that moment came a few years ago when three of my agility dogs were exposed to a puddle of anti-freeze under a leaking car radiator. Even though they were on 6-foot leashes, they still had room to reach the anti-freeze and were walking straight toward it. Three or four licks of the sticky-sweet stuff and they would have died. I didn’t realize what was happening until it was almost too late – but with just seconds to spare, I cried “Leave it!” and watched my dogs halt just a foot awayfrom the green pool, then turn and walk away in the other direction to the ends of their leashes. Whew! A very close call – but “Leave it” absolutely saved my dogs’ lives.
“Leave It” can also be used in many other situations, such as barking at windows, bothering another family pet, doorbell dashing, counter-surfing, and going after toys or laundry items. If “Leave It” isn’t securely in your dog’s vocabulary, maybe it’s time for a brush-up. We’re always here to help!