Teaching Puppy ‘leave it’ and ‘take it’

When puppy is only mouthing then we can teach them an ‘leave it and or ‘take it command to remove their mouth from us completely and to teach them only to take things we have in our hand when we ask them to.   That way they can  mouth when they play but we can stop them if necessary. To start:

  • Hand feed the puppy using large soft chewy treats you can hold in your hand
  • As puppy is nibbling, remove your hand, if puppy comes to get the treat say ‘leave it‘and close your hand.
  • When puppy backs away, sits down or stops, reinforce and reintroduce the treat.  Tell the puppy ‘take it’

This teaches the puppy that they can take things from our hand if we say it is okay, if we allow it and it teaches them that if they “ leave it” they will gain access to the treat when we tell them they can ‘take it’ Start this exercise with a large treat in a quiet calm manner. When the puppy has mastered the ‘leave it’ and ‘take it’ in a calm situation then introduce a toy in a play scenario.

Stop and start the play using your ‘leave it’ and ‘take it’  Gradually increase the level of excitement in the training session until you can have the  puppy in high play drive with a tug toy and when you say ‘leave it’ they relinquish the toy and then only ‘take it’ when you ask them too.