How to Teach Your Dog to “Leave It”

By Max Turner 6 Min Read

Teaching Your Dog to Respect the Phrase “Leave It”

Many dog owners simply want to ensure that their pets do not eat things they should not. To that end, it is important to teach your dog to respect the phrase “Leave it”. This simple command is effective in preventing your four-legged friend from picking up items like food on walks or at the park, or even from attempting to steal food off your plate. Teaching this command to your pup is a must if you want to maintain control and ensure that your dog’s behavior is safe and appropriate.

Understand When and How to Use the Command

The first step in teaching your dog the command “Leave it” is to understand when and how to use it. The phrase implies that the dog should avoid touching or eating something. This means that it should be used when you do not want your dog to go after something he should not be touching. This could be a food item, toy, or even something you do not own, like another dog’s toy or a stranger’s shoe.

Begin Training Inside a Safe Environment

It is important to begin teaching your pet the “Leave it” command in a safe environment. Begin at home where there are no distractions and you will have more control. When starting out, it is best to start using the command without any treats or rewards. You want your pup to understand the word and what it means without the added incentive of treats.

Use Positive Verbal Cues to Promote Obedience

As you begin training your dog, it is helpful to use positive verbal cues to encourage your pup to obey. Be specific and make sure your dog knows what he should not be touching. For example, if your pup is reaching for a toy you do not want him to touch, say the words “Leave it” in an authoritative, yet friendly tone. It is also important to use hand gestures, such as pointing away from the item, when saying the phrase.

Provide a Treat or Reward When Necessary

Although it is important to train your dog to obey the “Leave it” command without a treat or reward, you can use this tactic as a way to reinforce obedience. If your pup does nip at the toy or food item you have asked him to avoid, it is a good idea to provide a treat or reward when he does as you ask. This will help him understand that you are pleased with his behavior and that he should obey the command if he wants to receive a reward.

Find Opportunities to Use the Command in Everyday Scenarios

Once your pet is responding to the “Leave it” command in the safety of your home, it is time to begin using it in more difficult situations. If possible, try to use the command when there are distractions, like other dogs, loud noises, or people. This will help your pup understand that the command should be obeyed no matter the circumstances.

Develop Your Dog’s Ability to Exercise Self Control

In addition to teaching your pup to obey the “Leave it” command, it is important to help them develop their ability to exercise self-control. If a situation arises where your pet cannot reach the object he was asked to leave, take a step back and give him a moment to reign in his impulses. You can also provide verbal cues such as “Relax” or “Settle” to help him calm down and regain focus.

Be Patient and Consistent

When it comes to training your pup, patience and consistency are key. Eventually, your pet will understand what you expect from him and respond accordingly. Just remember that Rome was not built in a day, so be patient and take your time. Consistently repeating the commands and providing rewards when necessary will help ensure that your pup learns the lessons you are trying to teach.


Teaching your pup to obey the phrase “Leave it” is a must for all dog owners. This command is helpful in preventing your four-legged friend from engaging in destructive or potentially dangerous behavior. To ensure successful training, it is important to:

  • Understand when and how to use the phrase
  • Start training in a safe environment
  • Use positive verbal cues to reinforce the command
  • Provide treats or rewards when necessary
  • Use the phrase in everyday scenarios
  • Help your pup develop their self-control
  • Be patient and consistent with your approach

By following these simple tips, it is possible to successfully teach your pup the “Leave it” command and help them develop good habits for the future.

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Max Turner is a passionate American dog lover and writer, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and experiences through his blog, With a lifelong fascination for dogs and a strong bond with his own furry friends, Max offers valuable insights and practical tips to dog owners and enthusiasts worldwide. His blog covers a wide range of topics, including training techniques, health and wellness, breed profiles, responsible ownership, and fun activities. Max's engaging writing style, combined with his expertise and genuine love for dogs, make an invaluable resource for anyone looking to enhance their relationship with their canine companions. Max Turner's blog,, is a go-to destination for dog enthusiasts seeking expert advice and valuable insights. Max's deep-rooted passion for dogs, coupled with his extensive knowledge of dog behavior, training, health care, and breeds, enables him to provide practical tips and guidance. From training techniques and health tips to breed spotlights and responsible ownership, Max covers it all. With engaging content and a commitment to promoting a fulfilling and joyous life with dogs, is a trusted resource for dog owners looking to strengthen their bond with their furry friends.
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