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Discussion Starter #1
Please! I'm out here in the middle of the Amazon rainforest with not a dog trainer around anywhere.

We have so many hazards on every walk....discarded bones, garbage, dead animals...ugh. Need a reliable 'leave it' for my dogs' safety!

Step-by-step directions are easiest for me. :wave:
 

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Begin with something not very valuable, out of reach, teach the dog to look at you, reward. Move it closer, then slowly add more valuable goodies to proof off of. Never let the dog have what you tell it to leave. Some dogs are persistent, with these I will put things like hot dogs in a tupper ware bowl with holes, or pvc pipe with holes drilled in, especially when starting off lead work, to be sure they don't self reward. Then add random distractions along a short trail to reinforce behavior in real life scenarios. Reward with something great.
 

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Put the dog in a sit. Have two treats. Once you toss one to the side within reach of the dog, say leave it(very important to say leave it as its leaving your hand)..if dog goes for it, make a clicking noise to get dogs attention(do not repeat command), and cover the treat with your foot, do not let dog get the treat, once the dog looks at you treat and praise with treat in your hand. If your lucky the dog will look at you when you say leave it and you can treat and praise. Repeat as necessary. I use it on walks, for my cats, if I drop something, etc...
 

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It might also be a good idea to teach a "drop it" cue for those times when "leave it" is ignored or dog sees something interesting before you do. Teaching "Drop it" is super easy.


"The concept: When your dog is offered something better than the object he is showing interest in, the higher value treat will prevail.

Step 1: Prepare your training tools - some extremely tasty high value treats (bits of turkey dog, freeze dried liver, cheese, etc) and a fairly uninteresting toy that your dog will put in his mouth.
Step 2: Get your dog interested in the toy, leading him to take it in his mouth, when he does this tell him "Drop It" and offer him the treat. When he drops the toy in exchange for the treat - lavish praise & repeat until solid.
Troubleshooting:
If your dog is choosing the toy over the treat, there could be three issues:
You need to try a different treat - he isn't a fan of the one you are using.
He isn't hungry enough - try this exercise at a different time of day that isn’t close to a mealtime.
The toy you are using to train with is too much of a prized possession. Choose one he likes a bit less."

Borrowed from http://www.dogguide.net/drop-it-101.php
 

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It might also be a good idea to teach a "drop it" cue for those times when "leave it" is ignored or dog sees something interesting before you do. Teaching "Drop it" is super easy.


"The concept: When your dog is offered something better than the object he is showing interest in, the higher value treat will prevail.

Step 1: Prepare your training tools - some extremely tasty high value treats (bits of turkey dog, freeze dried liver, cheese, etc) and a fairly uninteresting toy that your dog will put in his mouth.
Step 2: Get your dog interested in the toy, leading him to take it in his mouth, when he does this tell him "Drop It" and offer him the treat. When he drops the toy in exchange for the treat - lavish praise & repeat until solid.
Troubleshooting:
If your dog is choosing the toy over the treat, there could be three issues:
You need to try a different treat - he isn't a fan of the one you are using.
He isn't hungry enough - try this exercise at a different time of day that isn’t close to a mealtime.
The toy you are using to train with is too much of a prized possession. Choose one he likes a bit less."

Borrowed from http://www.dogguide.net/drop-it-101.php
Drop it will only work once dog fails the leave it or already has something in its mouth. Drop it is good, but it should be taught separate from leave it.
 

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Drop it will only work once dog fails the leave it or already has something in its mouth. Drop it is good, but it should be taught separate from leave it.
Absolutely, in fact, I'm pretty sure I led off with that. I simply meant to suggest another tool based on the OP's situation. I rely on "drop it" a lot b/c as eagle eyed as I am, Molly is quick and I often don't have time to ask her to "leave" something because she's already grabbed it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
These are awesome suggestions....thanks everyone! I'm starting this weekend....I'll let you know how it goes.
 

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I have never taught the "leave it", however I can imagine some real-life problems with the training suggestions.

For instance, most of the time, the typical owner is strolling along without the dog's most to-die-for reinforcers on hand. While training, the owner might have some good reinforcers, but the rest of the day goes along without reinforcers.

The dog might be wise to this circumstance.

So "life happens" and the dog finds a discarded chicken bone, the owner is without a reinforcer) and/or without a reinforcer that competes against the orgasmic delights of chicken bones).

This scenario repeats fairly frequently and the dog begins to detect (discriminate) situations in which the "leave it" or "drop it" command is relevant or not ... that is, he can detect a training scenario from a non-training scenario.

I guess what I'm saying is that, in some cases, we are just screwed!

For myself, if I am in a situation in which I know I do not have sufficient behavioral control over a dog, I don't bother giving the corrective command. I don't want the dog to get the idea that my commands are just optional noises I make with my mouth.

If the dog gets the chicken bone, I calmly physical remove it.

There are surely some lovely, human oriented dogs that will drop anything for their owner. I have owned two of them (and I have only owned three dogs in my history) and they dropped whatever they had if I said anything to that effect... with no discernable training on my part.

The training ideas in the posts above look great, though.

I often wonder if a dog is trained under very, very controlled conditions from 7 weeks of age .... and never allowed to experience those moments when the owner is off-guard or without a sufficient reinforcer.... and you raise this dog up to the age of two years old like that, will the dog become utterly reliable? If so, does this hold true for all dogs?
 

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I have never taught the "leave it", however I can imagine some real-life problems with the training suggestions.

For instance, most of the time, the typical owner is strolling along without the dog's most to-die-for reinforcers on hand. While training, the owner might have some good reinforcers, but the rest of the day goes along without reinforcers.

The dog might be wise to this circumstance.

So "life happens" and the dog finds a discarded chicken bone, the owner is without a reinforcer) and/or without a reinforcer that competes against the orgasmic delights of chicken bones).

This scenario repeats fairly frequently and the dog begins to detect (discriminate) situations in which the "leave it" or "drop it" command is relevant or not ... that is, he can detect a training scenario from a non-training scenario.

I guess what I'm saying is that, in some cases, we are just screwed!

For myself, if I am in a situation in which I know I do not have sufficient behavioral control over a dog, I don't bother giving the corrective command. I don't want the dog to get the idea that my commands are just optional noises I make with my mouth.

If the dog gets the chicken bone, I calmly physical remove it.

I often wonder if a dog is trained under very, very controlled conditions from 7 weeks of age .... and never allowed to experience those moments when the owner is off-guard or without a sufficient reinforcer.... and you raise this dog up to the age of two years old like that, will the dog become utterly reliable? If so, does this hold true for all dogs?
This would, of course, be assuming that you had already taught (and maintained) the "leave-it" cue.
 

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I have never taught the "leave it", however I can imagine some real-life problems with the training suggestions.

For instance, most of the time, the typical owner is strolling along without the dog's most to-die-for reinforcers on hand. While training, the owner might have some good reinforcers, but the rest of the day goes along without reinforcers.

The dog might be wise to this circumstance.

So "life happens" and the dog finds a discarded chicken bone, the owner is without a reinforcer) and/or without a reinforcer that competes against the orgasmic delights of chicken bones).

This scenario repeats fairly frequently and the dog begins to detect (discriminate) situations in which the "leave it" or "drop it" command is relevant or not ... that is, he can detect a training scenario from a non-training scenario.

I guess what I'm saying is that, in some cases, we are just screwed!

For myself, if I am in a situation in which I know I do not have sufficient behavioral control over a dog, I don't bother giving the corrective command. I don't want the dog to get the idea that my commands are just optional noises I make with my mouth.

If the dog gets the chicken bone, I calmly physical remove it.

There are surely some lovely, human oriented dogs that will drop anything for their owner. I have owned two of them (and I have only owned three dogs in my history) and they dropped whatever they had if I said anything to that effect... with no discernable training on my part.

The training ideas in the posts above look great, though.

I often wonder if a dog is trained under very, very controlled conditions from 7 weeks of age .... and never allowed to experience those moments when the owner is off-guard or without a sufficient reinforcer.... and you raise this dog up to the age of two years old like that, will the dog become utterly reliable? If so, does this hold true for all dogs?
I don't believe so. That's why you proof off of things, then move to real life situations. I see many dogs who listen wonderfully during "training sessions" then take them out of the norm, they have no manners at all lol.

During a recent search, on a landfill, which had more food than I have seen in my lifetime, I never had to give a command of leave it. When trained in real life scenarios, the dogs don't bother.
Now the one year old pup, hadn't had enough proofing yet, so she didn't get to go on the pile. I would not had been able to reinforce leave it, if necessary, so she wasn't but in that situation.
 

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I have never taught the "leave it", however I can imagine some real-life problems with the training suggestions.

For instance, most of the time, the typical owner is strolling along without the dog's most to-die-for reinforcers on hand. While training, the owner might have some good reinforcers, but the rest of the day goes along without reinforcers.

The dog might be wise to this circumstance.

So "life happens" and the dog finds a discarded chicken bone, the owner is without a reinforcer) and/or without a reinforcer that competes against the orgasmic delights of chicken bones).

This scenario repeats fairly frequently and the dog begins to detect (discriminate) situations in which the "leave it" or "drop it" command is relevant or not ... that is, he can detect a training scenario from a non-training scenario.

I guess what I'm saying is that, in some cases, we are just screwed!

For myself, if I am in a situation in which I know I do not have sufficient behavioral control over a dog, I don't bother giving the corrective command. I don't want the dog to get the idea that my commands are just optional noises I make with my mouth.

If the dog gets the chicken bone, I calmly physical remove it.

There are surely some lovely, human oriented dogs that will drop anything for their owner. I have owned two of them (and I have only owned three dogs in my history) and they dropped whatever they had if I said anything to that effect... with no discernable training on my part.

The training ideas in the posts above look great, though.

I often wonder if a dog is trained under very, very controlled conditions from 7 weeks of age .... and never allowed to experience those moments when the owner is off-guard or without a sufficient reinforcer.... and you raise this dog up to the age of two years old like that, will the dog become utterly reliable? If so, does this hold true for all dogs?
Once the command is learned treats are not needed. I presently have 3 dogs and all of them know leave it and drop it...IMO drop it will be used when the owner missed the opportunity to tell the dog to leave it. I taught my 7 year old leave it when she was 6 years old..before that anything was game. I have not seen a dog that can't learn it if its taught right. And yes I've come across food, bones, and whatever else and told my dog to leave it(without a treat) and guess what...they leave it Whether the dog thinks the command is relevant or not, the dog should still do the command because it was told to do so and trained to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the tip.
Drop it will only work once dog fails the leave it or already has something in its mouth. Drop it is good, but it should be taught separate from leave it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My situation is pretty dire, so all the tools you have for me are much appreciated! I even go out and clean up our street to minimize available 'treats'. I'm not sure what the neighbors think of this. They already thinks it's weird that I walk my dogs and that I train them.


Absolutely, in fact, I'm pretty sure I led off with that. I simply meant to suggest another tool based on the OP's situation. I rely on "drop it" a lot b/c as eagle eyed as I am, Molly is quick and I often don't have time to ask her to "leave" something because she's already grabbed it.
 
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