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"LEAVE IT!" (part 3) - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer/Daycare Supervisor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 22:14

Over the last few months, we've been teaching the “LEAVE IT” command around scent (food). This month we'll work on visual distractions; ie. what does your dog see that excites them & makes them lose control?

It could be one thing or many things.  Is it a person or dog walking down the street, a cat or smaller animal? Is it a car, bike or ball? You'll have to choose which one is less important & work your way up, to the most important.

Knowing WHEN to correct & HOW to correct your dog will have to be practiced alot - timing is everything! You need a leash & collar, and some great treats to reward with.  Start with something of low importance visually.  If a moving ball or skateboard makes your dog crazy, start with the ball or skateboard lying on the grass with no one near it. If it's people or dogs moving, have the person or dog at a distance away from you, and very still.

When is it best to CORRECT?  When your dog’s gaze becomes a stare.  Ears perking up and the tail starting to rise are tell-tale (or should I say 'tell-TAIL') signs.  Correct this behaviour NOW!  DO NOT WAIT 'til the dog lunges at the object, person or animal - as it will be too late by then!  You may have to get someone to watch your dog, and tell you WHEN to correct him/her.

The correction should start with the verbal “LEAVE IT”.  If your dog ignores you, it’s time for a correction.  A quick “leash pop” to the side (think of a wet towel twisted up & snapped at another person to deliver a sting).  If done properly the dog should look at you.  Reward with a “GOOD LEAVE IT"” & treat.

Do not drag the dog to you, or physically hold it back.  If the dog still ignores you, you'll need a stronger leash pop or a couple in quick succession.  Once the dog is refocused on you, reply “GOOD LEAVE IT”, & reward with the treat.

Remember timing is VERY important and you'll need to practice this technique quite a bit at first.  Once your dog understands what you want, and starts to “Leave it” without correction, you can slowly increase your distractions.  May your dog always re-focus on YOU! smiley Jean


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