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Old 01-24-2014, 12:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Leave command

How do I teach my 8 month old the "leave" command? Specially when playing tug or throwing his toy.
Whenever I throw his toy he brings it but won't release it when I say "leave it"
He wants me to chase him (runs away with it as soon as I try to grab it" or just plays tug.

Although, when inside if he grabs something I don't approve and say the command "leave it" he listens and won't touch it so I know he knows what i mean.

Any advice?
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know if I can help, but I'll try. I use 3 different commands. To me, "Leave it" means to leave it alone. No matter what it is, it isn't to be investigated. This came in very handy when we found an injured porcupine on the side of the road. And here I thought teaching him to ignore poo was a big deal. Great command!

I teach "Drop it" too, which means whatever's in his mouth gets released. This command gets used when we're playing with the flirt pole, since the game is pretty much all about chasing the toy, and that won't happen unless he's dropped it. Another very useful command.

For retrieve games, I use "Hand" as in 'hand me the object.' I taught him this by playing with a larger frisbee - one I could hold at the same time as he had it in his mouth. Before I started using this word, I had already taught him to bring back the frisbee and "Drop it" at my feet. If he dropped it anywhere else, I'd tell him to go get it. That was more patience than anything, and I never chased him down for the toy. He learned that the game continued when he dropped it at my feet.

Then I added "Hand" when he was 100% with the dropping at my feet. It was a smooth transition for him, as I held the frisbee he naturally released it - he wanted that thing thrown, lol! So I added the command as he was releasing. Ta da!

The hardest part is being consistent. He has toys all over the yard, and he'll do his best to drop a toy and bark for it to be tossed for him. I have to continually tell others not to reward the bark, and ask for "Hand" if they want to play together, lol.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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As Blanketback said, "leave it" is usually used for leaving something alone, not for giving something up when the dog already has it. Although what commands you use for which behaviors doesn't necessarily matter (as long as you are consistent about what that command means), it's helpful to have both commands. Since he's already obeying the "leave it" command about not not touching something when you tell him not to, pick another one for releasing the toy. It's very possible he's confused because you're saying the same words for two different things.

Some people use "out", or you can use "drop it" or "give". Again, personal choice. I started training it by holding a treat right up to the dog's nose, and when they dropped the toy to take the treat I marked it ("yes!" or with a clicker), and then gave the treat. Once the dog is dropping the toy to take the treat, I start fading out food rewards and use continuation of play as the reward - let go of the tug, "yes!", and we tug some more, or I throw the ball again.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you all. I'll give it a try.

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