• Michael D'Abruzzo

    June 14, 2010 at 10:15 am

    If the object is already in the pups mouth, it sounds like what you really want to teach is “out” which is to drop what the dog already has. “leave it” will be for disengaging with a target before it is in the dog’s mouth.

    I just noticed I have to add the “how to” still for this in the members area so I guess I’ll start it here:

    It is best taught during play – especially during tug.

    When you are playing tug with the pup, every once in a while hold the tug very still and close to you so that there is very little “give” and so the game isn’t very fun.

    Calmly repeat the word “out”. It may take a minute, but generally the dogs will eventually get bored and release the object.

    When that happens immediately make the game fun again – so the pup learns that he will actually benefit from releasing.

    The last time you have the pup “out” have a good treat to give the pup so that there will always be something positive for releasing, but at the same time the game isn’t very fun once you start saying “out” so the pup learns overtime that hanging on is futile – and if there is any chance of getting it back and having fun he should release.

    For extra difficult dogs you can use two of the same toys. whether it be tugs or balls – you do the same exercise but with one hand hold the “held” object still and with the other hand make the clone object lively. when the dog releases the “held” object you throw or start playing with thge other object with the dog. Tugs with squeakers work well for this.

    When the dog does well at this stage you can keep the clone object in a pocket or draped over your shoulder. If the dog is anticipating that you will give the other object you may not have to wave it anymore.

    At the point when you can always keep the clone object pocketed you can actually start using the one toy technique again – because you can just give back the same toy or give the treat at the end.

    Phase 2 – will basically be adding a mild leash correction after the standard “no” warning, which (depending on what collar you are using) is generally a mild horizontal correction directed toward YOU, which could be light wrist flicks or steady/uncomfortable pull. Be sure to not do anything that is harsh. When you combine mild corrections with the fact that the game isn’t going to be fun at that point the dog will usually comply pretty willingly.

    and phase 3 – will be adding an off-leash correction after the warning. This is generally adding a remote citronella correction or LOW level e-stimulation the same time as the leash correction and then phasing off the leash correction and then doing it without the leash on the dog. Same concept here – LESS correction is better and is usually all that is necessary if you didn’t skip steps. The fact that dog usually getsthe object back anyway will still motivate the dog more than anything else.

    Even if i accidentally drop my sandwich, and i dont want the dog to eat it… after i have the dog “out” or “leave it” I will still give a little piece to the dog so that they still feel it was somehow worthwhile listening.

    The key is always putting in the time during phase 1 and you barely have to deal with the corrections at the later phases since the dog learns it is more beneficial anyway to just go by the rules.

    Hope this helps.