How to Teach 'Leave It'

Practical Uses

The goal of teaching your dog to 'leave it' is to stop your dog from taking something into its mouth or investigating something that is dangerous or questionable (such as rubbish, faeces, cane toads, children's toys etc.)

By teaching the 'leave it' command you will be able to safely walk your dog in many situations, which could otherwise prove to be unpleasant if not dangerous.


  1. Hold a treat in your hand and close your fingers around it
  2. Present your hand to your dog
  3. Your dog will mug your hand, licking, nudging and pawing trying to get you to release the treat.   As soon as your dog gives up and moves away from the treat mark (eg. 'Yes!') and reward.
  4. DO NOT pull your hand away from the dog, this will teach your dog to be 'grabby' and lunge forward to get the treats.
  5. When you can consistently produce your hand to your dog and can predict he will not touch it, begin to cue 'leave it' in a firm but friendly voice immediately before presenting your hand.
  6. Try opening your hand revealing the treat and having your dog 'leave it'.  If he mugs your hand close your fingers around the treat (do not pull your hand away).


  1. Your dog will not give up!  He keeps mugging your hand trying to get the treat
    You are not waiting long enough.  He WILL give up..... eventually.
  2. Your dog bites your hand
    You will need to work on bite inhibition BEFORE continuing with this exercise.  Speak to Urban Dog Training about how they can help.


** Article sourced with the permission of Danielle and Urban Dog Training -

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