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Canine University 71 Clinton St. Malden, MA

How we train

Three Dogs and a Baby (Part II)- The importance of teaching "leave it"

Having a baby and a dog or three (as we do !) spend any time together and you'll soon discover the importance of obedience training. As your baby grows and begins to crawl and walk and throw things you'll get a true appreciation for the "leave it" command.

"Leave it" means stop what you are doing and look at me. It could mean don't lick the baby, don't step on the baby, don't steal the baby's toys, food or pacifier (as Sam did once and ate it whole thank you very much !)

Maybe your baby is finally sound asleep after hours of being cranky and fussy, and having been a harrowing day you order pizza delivered. Leave it could save your sanity if your dog is the kind that sounds the alarm at the door ! Maybe your blossoming tot is learning to crawl and accidentally gets close to your pooch who is chewing on his bone or toy. "Leave it" means, don't snap at, growl, bark or otherwise molest the baby. When your child is playing on the floor leave it might mean don't touch the baby's toys or snack or shoes, etc.

Leave it has all kinds of useful application some of which are listed below:

  • don't lick the baby
  • stop licking the baby
  • don't steal the baby's toys
  • don't steal the baby's food from his hand or mouth
  • don't steal the pacifier
  • don't bark at the door or window or visitor
  • don't go lunging after goodies on our walk and knock the baby out of the stroller
  • don't steal the baby's stuffed animals
  • most especially don't steal any dirty diapers !!!

The way we taught leave it in class was quite simple and should be easy to apply to your current needs.

Step 1: put food in your fist; when dog backs away, click/treat
Step 2: same as above except withhold the click until the dog looks at you
Step 3: label it "leave it" when the dog is looking at you
Step 4: put the food on the floor and start over, drop the label if the dog forgets
Step 5: Now apply the command to real life with real leave its. Don't be afraid to go back to step one and start over if the dog forgets.

As with any command that you teach your dog, the more you practice and apply it to real life the better it will work for you when you really need it.

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