Now that that is settled, let's get down to business!
What is a Leave It?
Teaching the dog to leave something alone when you cue a leave it. It is different than a "Drop It cue".
Below you will see a video of Anna demonstrating this training plan with her dog Rowan. Here is the step by step plan for your reference.
Jimmy doesn't teach a Leave It cue to actually leave the thing alone, but to focus on him.
Many people want to use an auto-leave-it method of opening the hand, and when the dog goes towards the hand, shut the hand, when they ignore, they get treats. Then add cue. But this creates bad associations with the hand, and can create frustration in the dog as well. Causing multiple "bad" or "undesirable behaviors".
Anna talks us through a better version that Jimmy calls the "Anna method" but she calls it the "David Thatcher method".
1. Make sure you have a chill on a mat foundation behavior. Dog relaxed and laying down. 2. Put treats in a pocket on your right for your right hand, and in a pocket on your left side for your left hand. 3.Take a treat from one pocket, touch the ground with it, then give it to the dog. Repeat this step until the dog is able to relax and not lunge for the treat as you go. Pocket, Ground, Mouth. 4. Repeat step 3, but this time, reach into the other pocket with the opposite hand, and treat from that hand. As they are eating that treat, pick up the treat in the first hand, that is touching the floor, and give that treat to the dog as well. The dog will start to anticipate the treat coming from the opposite pocket. You can mark (or click, or saying "yes) when they disengage from the first treat to look towards the other hand, and then treat them.
At this point you are looking for a rhythm of them relaxing, looking from the treat on the ground, to the hand that is now treating them first.
5. Add the cue. As you place that first treat on the ground, and start moving the hand away in increments, say "Leave It" as the dog looks away from the first treat. When they look away, click, and then treat,
Then Leave It starts to mean "Look at Me". Rinse and repeat from other positions.
BUT...should we ever not give the dog the treat that is on the ground? Can it cause frustration in the future if the dog expects to get the first treat and then one day cannot have what they are leaving? We asked David...
Answer: Yes, as you build up with more treats on the floor as you give them. You are increasing that the treat will come. Part 2 of the behavior is working towards changing the body position. Eventually you will work from the kitchen counter, and the food is on the floor, they will get what you give them, but not what is on the floor.
Another Way to Treat a "Leave It" is to teach Look at That (LAT)
1. When the dog looks at the thing on the floor, as long as they are not lunging for it, as soon as they look at it, click and treat. 2. You start to see the thing on the ground become a cue for the dog to look at you. As soon as they look, you click, and treat. 3. Over time, you will start to see them using the thing as a cue to look back at you.
For LAT, practice in low distraction environments without the trigger to pracoce your dog looking at things and getting clicks.
For clickers and supplies, go to clickertraining.com
1. Go slowly. 2. Always set them up for success 3. If things aren't working, change the plan, and make it easier.
Having Trouble with your reinforcement training? Give episode 18 a listen to troubleshoot some issues.
JUST THE TIP: Here is a great way to deliver any liquidy treats for your dog in situations that you may need to.