How To Train Your English Shepherd Dog To Leave It

Dog Situation

A young puppy is curious and prone to picking up and chewing on objects they find, such as shoes, toys, or potentially harmful items like small objects or toxic plants.

Dog Behaviors

The puppy may show interest in the object, approach it, sniff or lick it, and try to pick it up in their mouth.

Trainer Recommendation

How To Train Your Dog To Leave It

  1. Choose a cue such as “leave it”

    Select a command, such as “leave it,” which will be consistently used to instruct the puppy to leave an object alone.

  2. Introduce the command

    Start by placing a low-value item (e.g., a toy) on the floor and allowing the puppy to approach it. Hold a high-value treat in your hand, ready to reward the puppy.

  3. Capture the behavior

    As the puppy approaches the object, say “leave it” and place the high-value treat close to their nose, diverting their attention from the object. When the puppy turns away from the object to focus on the treat, click the clicker and give them the treat as a reward.

  4. Practice and increase difficult

    Continue to practice this behavior, gradually increasing the difficulty by using more enticing objects and placing them closer to the puppy. Be consistent with the command and always reward the puppy when they successfully leave the object alone.

  5. Add distractions

    Once the puppy consistently follows the “leave it” command with various objects, introduce distractions, such as people walking by or other animals in the vicinity. Practice the command in different environments to ensure the puppy generalizes the behavior.

Results/Consequences

  • Positive consequences: The puppy learns to respond to the “leave it” command, avoiding potentially dangerous or destructive behaviors. This ensures their safety and helps prevent damage to household items.
  • Strengthened bond: Consistent and successful training strengthens the bond between the puppy and the trainer, as the puppy learns to trust and respect the trainer’s guidance.
  • Improved overall behavior: Mastering the “leave it” command can help the puppy develop self-control, leading to improved overall behavior and easier training in other areas.

Remember to be patient and consistent during the training process, as it may take time for the puppy to fully understand and respond to the command. Always use positive reinforcement and avoid punishment, as it can lead to fear or confusion in the puppy.

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Tony Bierman, "How To Train Your English Shepherd Dog To Leave It," OBTESA, Accessed June 18, 2024, http://esbt.us/ew.