Teach your dog Leave It and Take It – Safe and soft mouth

Today we’re looking at the two things you need to keep your dog safe and keep all your fingers: leave it and take it coming up. Ian here with Simpawtico Dog Training and today we’re going to be talking about developing your dog’s confidence and control with their mouth. But before we do that please make sure you subscribe so you never miss any of our videos. Also, like our page on Facebook so we can get better acquainted. You can find that at facebook.com/simpatico.training and don’t forget to check that YouTube description for notes, links, and resources about the stuff we talked about. Now let’s go over these concepts so you have an idea of how we’re working here. Take it teaches your dog to take things gently from your hands. For puppies this is the cornerstone of developing a soft mouth and learning bite inhibition. For older dogs we can’t teach bite inhibition anymore, but we can still teach them to take things more gently and to wait for us to approve and release things that go into their mouths. Leave it is a potentially life-saving thing for dogs to learn. The goal is for your dog to learn that things they want are not guaranteed. If you drop food on the floor for example most dogs will torpedo after it. As the saying goes the five-second rule is no good if you have a two-second dog. Not only is it rude and annoying it’s potentially dangerous. What if you dropped harmful things like a grape or a piece of chocolate? Or if you’re in the bathroom and you drop a pill…your dog is going to dive for all of that stuff so we’ve got to start teaching them that things that hit the floor are not theirs. More than that dogs also need to learn that anything they want in the world isn’t necessarily theirs to stick their nose into like McDonald’s wrappers or roadkill or squirrels and chipmunks or even other dogs. Teaching your puppy leave it and take it together will help prevent her from guarding food and toys. Now for the purpose of this video we’re going to be using mainly food for the focus. Towards the end of the video I’ll give you some tips for helping expand this concept to toys games and even tasks like fetching and retrieving. There are a lot of moving parts to getting really good at what I call the Holy Trinity of mouth control: take it, leave it, and drop it. I don’t want this to turn into a half hour long, ultra-technical videos so for right now I’m going to blaze through just leave it and take it, and give you some practical exercises you can start with today. Let’s get started! Phase one: take it. First we start teaching the dog to take things gently from us. We cannot have them snapping for things like a crocodile so we’re going to measure out some food during mealtime and hand-feed them. Yup. You heard me right. Take a piece of kibble, say “Take it” and give it to them. After several repetitions, hearing the verbal phrase “Take it” becomes a reliable predictor of receiving something from your hand. However the caveat is that it’s got to be done politely, so if they become over-exuberant in taking the food we give them feedback and take the food away. Use your wrist like a pivot and just flick it away. One thing I see people doing a lot is giving an instructive reprimand like “Gentle” or “Easy.” This isn’t necessarily wrong but if you use it too much, which is what a lot of people do…. Ok, gentle… gentle… GENTLE! Then you’re implying that they only have to take it gently or easily when you say that. The expectation needs to be universal: every time, everywhere. A more productive kind of feedback is just a simple “Nope.” This signals that they need to keep trying. Of course effective feedback includes both sides of the coin so make sure to praise them when they do take it gently. The food itself is a reinforcement but we need that voice to be a big part of it too because once we get into leave it they may not get the food, so praise for a job well done lays the foundation for good behavior down the road. Also watch the head angle. If they’re looking up at it there’s a greater tendency to jump and snap. Lower the food so it’s coming straight in or even a little below. Also use your palm for a dog with a big mouth, otherwise your fingers will disappear inside those jowls. This phase goes really quickly. For puppies I always teach my students to hand-feed for the first few weeks and this is such a powerful and easy thing to do. Even for older dogs though, a day or so of this should drastically change the way they take food from you. Phase two: leave it and take it. We start this process pretty simply. You don’t necessarily even need to wait to start this. Present food in your hand to your dog and say one time “Leave it.” They’re going to go for it and when they do close your hand and say “Nope” and then wait. You don’t need to repeat yourself and don’t move your hand, no matter how much they fuss at it or how long it takes. Wait it out! The instant that your dog gives up—and they will—immediately say “Good! Take it!” and hand them the treat. Timing is critical here; don’t pussyfoot around. Praise and reward immediately. As you practice, your dog will start responding faster and faster. You’ll also see them starting to get comfortable while they wait. These bargain-basement stays are exactly what we’re waiting for so reinforce the heck out of these. Then start hanging out with it. Get three seconds before you let them have it then five and ultimately 10 before you let them take it. Count these out as you wait. Remember the feedback is part of learning. You’re marking the behavior and letting them know that’s what you want. This is important. As soon as you feel comfortable, start diversify the types of things that you practice leave it with. Using some of your dog’s favorite interactive toys is a really good way to do this and it’s a fantastic gateway to not only proofing this behavior but also teaching drop it. Tug is a great teaching game for these along with fetch & retrieves. Check out my video on the four types of toys for more info. Practice also with paper products. Dogs tend to find tissue paper, toilet paper, toilet paper rolls, and crumpled up paper absolutely fascinating. Make sure they understand that the rules apply to everything in the universe. The only difference here is that you’ll be rewarding them with food or a toy instead of the paper product. Phase three: supercharge leave it and take it! Now you’re ready to raise the criteria, which is how we get better. The previous steps are pretty standard obedience class fare but we aren’t going to stop there; we’re gonna go to the extreme! So now we repeat the leave it and take it exercise by placing the item on the ground. Use your hand to cover it if necessary. I don’t recommend letting the dog slurp food off the ground though. I don’t want them getting used to doing that so when you use food as a lure pick it up or have a second one in your hand ready to give them. Don’t forget to use “Take it.” Then get to where you’re standing up and covering it with your foot or blocking it with your body if necessary. As before we want bargain-basement stays without having to cover the item. Give good feedback for eye contact, give good feedback for showing self-restraint. Then we’re going to drop it from a few inches off the ground. Then we’re going to drop it from waist height. Then we’re going to toss it short distances. Boy this is usually where they crack! Keep at it. Give feedback for good performance and feedback for poor performance, and challenge yourselves. Finally get to where you can actually toss the item in their direction without them taking it. Phase 4: take it outside. When leave it and take it are well understood you should have things pretty well on voice control, meaning that if you say “Leave it” your dog will stop moving towards something and wait for your next direction. Now it’s time to raise the criteria and challenge ourselves again. First off we need to do the exercise in as many places as possible. As I’ve mentioned before dogs don’t generalize very well; if you train your dog in the kitchen you have a great kitchen dog, so we always practice things in as many places as we can so they learn it means the same thing everywhere. On a walk we want them to leave things alone when we tell them to. The best way to practice is to do a setup. Have something setup that the dog wants like a bowl of food or a pile of treats or their favorite ball. Then do some flybys. Walk by and pay attention to the signals you feel in the leash. Point at the item and say, “Leave it.” See what happens. If your dog keeps trucking and pays attention to you, great! Praise and reward them with a treat from your pocket. If they strain to get the item we go back to exactly how we practiced in the beginning: wait it out. When they give up, praise and reward just like before. Then fly by again. Every re-exposure makes it easier for them to listen because the item is less exciting each time. That means more opportunity for you to reinforce what you want. Here’s a pro tip: always face the direction you want to go. Turning around validates the item they want. Facing away keeps your energy moving in that direction. When it’s clear that your dog is listening, you’re ready to hit the gas and reward them in motion while you’re walking away. Couple this with all of your other walking tools like getting and keeping their attention, good voice control, off-leash following, and solid heeling when necessary, and you’ve got a Swiss Army knive’s worth of tools in your back pocket. So there are as I said a lot of moving parts to this whole thing. Here’s a list of some more pro tips to help you excel. Try your best to not let there be mistakes. If your dog gets the food or toy from you that’s self-reinforcing and will encourage them to keep trying because sometimes it works. You must do your best to make it as error free as possible. If you’re working with your new puppy, help them develop a strong chew toy habit. If your puppy always wants to play with chew toys she won’t seek out inappropriate objects that need to be taken away. Additionally teach your pup to voluntarily give up her to toys when you ask. For older dogs don’t let them scavenge around. Dogs are opportunistic scavengers and if snooping around yields rewards it’s self-reinforcing and they’ll keep doing it, so keep them focused on you and reward them lavishly when they do as you ask. Right away start using toys and games as part of your take it and leave it training. Tug for example is an awesomely productive game for teaching manners and restraint. In this vein you should start incorporating drop it into your repertoire too. Leave it is for things your dog wants, drop it is for something they already have, so make sure that’s part of your practice too. We’ll take a bigger look at drop it in another video. All right guys: WOW! This was a dense video. Good luck with leave it and take it. Don’t let yourself get too discouraged. Take your time with it and re-watch this video if necessary. Stick with it and you’ll be creating some really good habits which, as they say, are as hard to break as bad habits. So here’s my question for you: what are some other things you’d like to see videos about? What are you struggling with? What makes your blood boil? Let’s connect in those comments. Don’t forget to thumbs up this video and as always: keep learning, keep practicing, and I’ll see you next time. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Teach your dog Leave It and Take It – Safe and soft mouth”

  1. Love your videos! Have a 9 week old Frenchie pup and today we started this session. after two meals he will now rest his head on my wrist patiently staring at the kibble in my palm for a good 5 – 10 seconds waiting until I say "take it". This technique works so well!

  2. I'd still like to see a lot more video of what you're talking about, and a lot less footage of you talking. But I definitely enjoyed the information in this one. Thank you!

  3. I'm using your videos to help train my pup to be my Service Dog. I didn't know a lot of this when I first got him so we are just now doing the Holy Trinity. He is 5 months old, is he too old to do the option where I feed his food to him during his meal times?

  4. I'm struggling a bit with the order of everything, I've had my (2.5 month old) pup for around 2 week's now and there's so many things I need to be doing and training But I'm not sure the order and priority, information overload a bit 😅

  5. Your videos are incredible; so much information that is actually correct. I only wish I would’ve found your channel when I first got my dog. He is now 8 months old and I’ve basically re-set training with tips from your videos. Hopefully I will have a well-behaved dog in the near future.

  6. hi, I have a blue pitbull puppy and she loves to play bite. she is usually really sweet and cuddly when getting home from work and wants to play with us right away. However she has started to get "aggressive" of some sort when we are playing with her she gets really angry, start bitting hard and growling and even as little as she is right now her face turn really ugly and scary. It is not a big problem now because she is barely 10lbs yet but we are scared of what will happen once she grows. please help

  7. Im struggling with this one, she just keeps biting my hand until I say ouch so loud and then I have to take my hand away as she just wont listen, she is a rescue dog, who had to scavenge for food in her early life she is about 12 weeks old.. or she gives up and walks away. Ouch usually works when playing but not when I have food in my hand

  8. Hi there, and thank you for all your videos! They are so helpful!!! I’m a new subscriber, and walker treeing hound owner, a 9 week old female. Can you please recommend a video that teaches us a reliable method for ‘come’?

  9. Again, love your video! The types of toys video has been so useful. Rationing the interactive toys really helped with training.

    Can you make a video on dogs that are not really food motivated? My 4 month old Cockapoo has almost no interest in her kibble. And she stops wanting to do anything for treats after she gets like 2-3. Fortunately I can break each treat into rice grain size pieces to make them last a little bit longer and thus squeeze in some training, but it’s pretty difficult.
    She’s ALWAYS ready to play tug though (used it to make her like her crate ). How do I use that better for training instead of stuffing her with food she doesn’t want?

  10. I’m preparing for a puppy, and I was wondering, how do you teach them to differentiate between ‘search’ games and ‘leave it’. I intend to teach my puppy to leave anything on the floor for the reasons you explained. However, what about nosework and search games? Will the dog be able to know the difference between ‘this is game so I’m allowed to eat the hidden treat’ and ‘oh I’m not allowed to eat what’s on the floor unless permission is given?’

  11. Brilliant video. Thanks x. Please could you make a video about how to stop one of your dogs bullying another of your dogs. I have a year old dog and when she was 7 months old I got another puppy. The new dog is a very nice temperament already. Easy to train. But the older one behaves really badly now. And bully’s the younger one every opportunity.

  12. Just tried this with my 8 week old Lab and boy o boy was it so much fun! I was surprised how quickly he picked up on it. Thank you so much for these great videos

  13. Video on Dog Jealousy. My LapPit is so jealous of some dogs. We doggy sit my nieces dogs at times. The Bernewfiedoodle he is fine with. But with the younger lab, he waits in the background with head hung and anything they have or want he sweeps in grabs it and hides or protects it. We try to play with both at the same time and nothing seems to work. So annoying.

  14. I love all your beautiful video they are so much fun and beautiful to watch cause I’m learning so much.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this beautiful video.

  15. Does the dog need to know how to sit/stay for leave it? My puppy is all over the place and just walks away on the “leave it” exercise

  16. I noticed in your schedule of take, leave it, nope, your dog was trembling. My puppy does too. Is that being nervous, anxious about something? Their food being taken away? Will the trembling reduce over time? How can I help or calm that? Thanks

  17. Hi! My puppy is 13 weeks tomorrow. He knows how to leave it and take it. Not fully, but we’re almost there. We have a problem with other dogs. He is very playful and wants to play but I think he’s giving the wrong message to dogs. He nips and bites at their cheeks and ears. Usually dogs will just leave him be or bark at him. But he doesn’t care and keeps going at it. That’s until a kind dog has had enough of him and starts to get aggressive by growling and wants to attack. He even got bit once by a big dog. Thankfully he just wanted to scare him off and if he wanted to, he could have ripped Max’s head off. How do I teach him to approach in a well mannered way to other dogs? He’s quite ok with humans.

  18. We just got our 7 week old Aussie and we’ve been trying to follow the techniques in your videos, specifically feeding from the Kong. Should we be Kong feeding or hand feeding?

  19. Stealing food off of the counter or the table. I have one dog that steals food all the time. She will also take it right out of your hand sometimes

  20. Hi.
    I dog-sitt quiet often a Beagle Lady (5 y.o.). We have dog areas here, where can unleashe your dog. It happens a lot, that she just sneakes away & when I say here….she , let's say, sometimes doesn't "feel like going over there"🤣 Any help?

  21. Any tips for my 13 week old French bulldog puppy that’s starting to show food aggression. She only growls when she has a dentabone not regular food. I guess the bone brings out the animal in her 🦴 She’s not biting us just growling. I would like to stop this before it progress. We are doing a few things like, hand feeding her and I’m also taking the bone a few times and rewarding with treats. Anything else I can do?

  22. It seems my puppy has learned that in order to receive a treat for leaving it, he must first mess with it in the first place. So he goes for the item, I say leave it, he leaves it, I treat then this becomes a cycle. Please advise. Thanks for the video!

  23. We have a new dog, about 4 months now. He's a rescue. He's fine on long rides but on shorter local ones he incessantly barks and it seems to be getting worse. Before it was just trucks and buses, now its people, dogs, etc.

  24. I have 2 dachshund and we got the sit down stay but I’m have issues with lay down what are some tips I can use since they are low to the ground

  25. Your videos are fantastic. As you stated, there is tons of conflicting advice out there but I love how you connect your training methods to love and logic – everything makes total sense. We are struggling with puppy biting but I think all the training around mouth control in addition to the ABI will help us. Thanks for your work!

  26. People add too many words like putting a dogs name before any and every comand I found leave it was really hard for Labradors to learn but my germanshepherdvwas lightening fast on learning it but gun dog have food is their kryptonite

  27. This is a great vid! Thanks Ian! ~other topics: how to get my dog to ignore other dogs on walks, stop barking, stay off

  28. Will this help with the puppy jealous behavior when I pet our older dog, he barks and muscles in on the affection?

  29. See my puppy waits while I have it in my hand when I say "leave it", but he lunges if I put it on the floor and gets very hyper when I'm covering it. He hasn't yet made the connection I think that leave it with my hand has the same result as leave it on the floor.

    Edit – I've only had him a few days and he's only 12 weeks old, but he's my first puppy so I'm still kind of feeling out how to calm him down or what I should do to train this command more effectively.

  30. I love your videos. They're great. I have a boxer, American bulldog mix. He's 5 months old and when we're outside he doesn't always listen when I call him or ask for sit. He gets distracted. Any tips?

  31. I'm going to work on this with my puppy today. She's very smart. I'm hoping she'll eventually understand leave it when she wants to go after the cats.

  32. Great video Ian. I have two questions/problems: my 8 week old puppy has a tendency to wander off in the middle of the meal to investigate other parts of the house she's not allowed in yet. She also gets SUPER excited, jumping and biting (she's tiny but it really hurts).

    Right now if she wanders off, I assume breakfast is over and try to feed her later and I tell her "Ouch!!" if she bites me and the meal stops. The problem is that she gets incredibly heightened when she goes into landshark mode and I can't help flinching due to the pain. My crys just seem to feed into it. I end up having to put her in her playpen and wait. None of this is ideal because I am already worried about her not getting enough to eat. Any thoughts?

  33. hey man! REALLY LOVE THIS! it works like wonders! he is a lot better with the commands with these exercises. However, will the dog be confused with both “Yes” and “Take it” ?

  34. Thank you so much, Ian, for giving such precious advise. You are one of my heroes now. I have just practised this with my 10 weeks old Pomeranian and he understood within 2 minutes that crocodile biting is an unwanted behaviour. My 13 year old daughter watched and also trained our puppy in the way you showed us. She is delighted how well it works out. Here you have 2 new fans and followers from Northern Germany. Danke schön.

  35. My family has a three-year-old Golden Retriever and a ten-week-old Corgi puppy. Neither of them knows how to play fetch. Do you have any suggestions on teaching them using Take It, Leave It, and Drop It?

  36. Great video! Can you please make Video on ideal dogs for first time owners, who are working full time. I'm thinking an adult dog of a breed such as a grey hound, what are your opinions on this?

  37. i’m literally obsessed w you showing us from the dogs POV what saying gentle over and over every time is like!

  38. The little puppy is vibrating with energy! I truly appreciate your videos- they are informative, instructive, and doable. Thank you!

  39. My 14 week old pup is really great with leave it in the house, even dropping kibble in front of him, but once we go outside he doesn't always leave it, especially when it comes to goose poop. =( Suggestions?

  40. I have a 4 year old and 1.5 year old Rottweilers. To do any training what is best to do, train the 4 yr old then the 1 year old or other way round. Both have done puppy, level 1 the 4 yr old has done level 2

  41. Love this video! Could you do a video on how to get your stingy toy dog to share toys with your other dog?

  42. Recently discovered your videos and you have a lot of great tips for dog owners! The only one that I found so far that I would challenge is the "Leave It". Personal preference only, I wouldn't let a dog take an item after telling it to leave it. If the dog was to have the item after, I would use 'wait'. Leave it is something I use for items that are off limits like dropped pills, chocolate, macadamia nuts, unknown items on the street that has caught their interest, etc. Wait means it will be allowed to have it eventually. Wait I use to teach a little self discipline / impulse control. Wait to go outside, wait to approach their dinner bowl, wait to get into the car and as a result, when I say wait in a dangerous situation, they stop and wait and it prevents accidents from happening. Leave it has stopped them from picking up tainted meat pieces in the dog park.

    Look forward to watching more of your videos and have already been recommending them to people who have dogs or are in the process of adopting one!

  43. great video, can you also do one on mat training, so when a dog comes inside he stays in his mat and does not wander around?

  44. Good day. I have a 7 month old pup – Seidi. We got her when she was 4 months old. She is very sensitive about, what she perceives as, aggressive tone or actions and stimuli like an object falling (i.e. a mop handle hitting the floor), often running and hiding and is distrustful for an extended period of time. Our home is fairly calm (except when my grand children are here:) and never hostile. She is treated with patience and love, has a lot of exposure to other people, situations, dogs.
    I have another dog (Charlie) that is also a working dog. When I play with Charlie, i.e. tug or wrestling, Seidi watches but from afar and then is very cautious around me.

  45. We have a small mixed breed who loves to bark and pace the fence when someone goes by (only people or people with dogs, not vehicles). Is there already a video for this or something that could be created? We’d like to curb this behaviour before the new puppy arrives. It’s probably his biggest hurdle. Everything else we have working or currently working on (better leash skills we’re working on)

  46. I'd really love a video about how to train a puppy on how to live and interact with a Cat. i.e. Litterbox, Cat poop… Cat Food, Cat Toys, The Cat's themselves etc.

    For example, my cats get wet food twice a day around the same time, but their dry food is out all day for grazing. One Cat isn't that great at jumping, where the other is (we've fed her on higher locations before– because the other cat can be a bit of a chonker).

    But a big one… LITTER BOXES!

    I know it's pretty demanding on the dog to expect so much self restrain… but man it's even harder to train a cat LOL

  47. The way we teach "Leave it" at the shelter where I volunteer is not give a dog the item that they were told to Leave so that they don't get the impression that "Leave it" is temporary. This is relevant for toxic items.
    Probably mixing it up is OK once the behavior is learned, but I'd be inclined to teach that once Leave it is used, that the item is not offered until it has left their mind.

    You pack a lot into these videos and I am very grateful for all your awesome tips. Many thanks!!

  48. My puppy is obsessed with smiling out worms and grubs in the grass. When I take him out to potty, his nose goes for the grass. Of course, I pick him up and move him to refocus but he keeps it up. Help!

  49. I feel guilty for being so enraptured in binging your videos that I'm moving from one to the other without "liking" each video before moving to the next. Which is more important…watching or liking?

  50. I put my deposit on my baby right after his parents were bred. It's been months, I'm very close to bringing him home and the anticipation is killing me! I've always rescued adult rotts from rescues, this is my first baby. I've been watching & reading training advice for half a yr, I'm enjoying yours the most. You've answered most of my questions without having to actually ask them, which finding the answers to all my questions has been so difficult with so many different opinions and training methods. I've found that we're of like mind in approach. So I just feel compelled to say Thank you. 😁 Getting this puppy feels a lot like getting ready for a child. I'm so excited but very nervous too. I just want to do everything right! I've tamed and trained the worst of the worst adult rotts who've been abused and neglected, who could have easily eaten or maimed me….yet doing right by a baby frightens me more. it's strange.

  51. You provide great training for us humans! Thank you Ian! I wonder, since you asked, could you do a video on early signs of resource aggression? Thanks for all you do! Oma and Alo

  52. Hi!
    Could you please help us!🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🐶
    My puppy turned 4 months old today (male).
    He never showed any aggression neither to us nor to dogs.
    Today I was teaching him “leave it”. Everything went great until I started using boiled chicken head.🐔And boiled chicken meat was as a treat.
    He got crazy, when I told him to leave it, grin👹, started to jump on my legs, trying to bite me. My husband came to help, took the puppy up in his arms. Then the puppy bit his cheek.😵 My husband hold him, trying to settle him down. As I understand this happened because he didn’t get this chicken head in the end. (he never tried it before as well). Right?🤔
    We never used negative reinforcement for him, never beat him of course.
    Please tell us, what should we do in such situations? Should I keep using this kind of food for “leave it”, to provoke him? Or stop using it? How to behave if he will get crazy like this again? Thank you in advance for any advice 🙏🏻😊❤️

  53. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You explain things so well!
    Im so encouraged! We have An 11 week old English Bull Terrier and we began applying your advice on “what to do about puppy biting” when she was about 9 weeks and we have noticed a significant reduction in her intensity, she lets go very quickly when we let her know it hurts now and is mostly a lot calmer, one part there I couldn’t even walk around the house with shorts on because she seemed so fixated on biting everything that moved, but your advice seems to have changed this… i can see the energy we put in to her, is the energy we get back from her both in the long run and the momentarily… It seems she really is a reflection of my behaviour towards her in many ways, it’s very though provoking. Your videos have provided us not only with guidance on what to do but reason as to why it matters why we should do what we do, this makes a world of difference and I’m so grateful and so encouraged to put into practice what you teach! Thanks again you guys are amazing! 😊

  54. My question is how do I get my 8-year-old rescue who's not into toys to get interested in a tug toy in the first place? Any recommendations on the type of tug toy I should get? My thought is a floppy type would be easier to animate to help kick in prey response.

  55. hello after watching some videos and learning from you here is my question. i am adopting a 2 year old border collie who is looking for a new home. i will be working with him on take it or leave it because he has a slight bite reflex, gets possessive etc. Do you think he will transition better with imported toys that he has with his current owner or should he start with me with new toys right from the beginning to aid in training? Thank you very much for any answer!

  56. First I want to say, thank you for your videos! We're getting our first puppy (the cutest Bernedoodle♥️) in about a week and your videos are making me feel much more confident. Secondly, would you focus on teaching them their name with the hand feeding as seen in other videos first before teaching take it? Thank you!

  57. What do you recommend when you have 2 puppies. One is on point in leave it/take it, but the other is not and then leads the good one to the bad side? lol I adopted a brother and sister and thought I could train them together, but now I am thinking I am going to have to separate them. What do you think?

  58. Thank you so much for this video! I have a 12 week dachshund puppy. I started hand feeding her lunch and dinner today. For lunch, I said "take it" with each piece (or pieces) from an open hand. She also had to be seated and look at me for each piece. For dinner, about half way through, I started holding my hand closed and saying "leave it". After several handfuls, she would just sit and wait for me to open my hand and say take it. She also had to look at me with each piece. It was amazing to watch her go from agitation (because she was so hungry initially) to calmly waiting for me to give it to her. Thanks for the step by step actions. I'll continue to do this and transition to her "leaving it" when it's visible in my hand or on the floor, etc.

  59. What's your opinion about using a keyword to initiate permission. We learned it in poison/snake proofing so the dog learns avoidance and not to take food or treats from strangers without who do not know the keyword. The idea being that they avoid and refuse possibly toxic presentations (eg. some A-hole tosses a piece of meat over the fence in an effort injure your pet or distract it so they can burglarize your home). I know it's not that likely but it can happen.

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