Skill #1: ‘Take It’ & ‘Leave It’

Goal: To teach your dog to take something or leave something when asked.

These skills will let you verbally control your dog keeping it from helping itself to food or objects.

Resources: You will need a tug toy and a large treat. The treat needs to be
large enough that you can hold it in your hand while your dog nibbles on the end. You will also need some small yummy treats about the size of your little fingernail.

Training Steps

  • Hand-feed your dog using a large, soft, chewy treat. Don’t let your dog eat it all, just let it nibble on the treat. While your dog is nibbling pull the treat away. If it tries to get the treat say ‘leave it‘ and close your hand over the treat. When your dog backs away, sits or stops say ‘yes’ and give it a small treat from your other hand.
  • Now reintroduce the large, soft, chewy treat and tell your dog ‘take it’ and allow it to nibble on the large treat again. Repeat the above 10 times.
  • When your dog understands the game with a treat, play the game with a toy, rewarding it with the small yummy treats.
  • Gradually get more animated as you play the game. You want your dog to be able to ‘leave it’ and ‘take it’ even if it is excited.


Generalize the ‘take it’ and ‘leave it’ to other things such as its toys or when you drop something on the floor.

If your dog refuses to let go or shows any signs of aggression such as growling, snapping or freezing then discontinue the training session and call your local DogSmith for a FREE consultation. Training must be fun for both you and your dog.