6. Teaching Leave It

Teaching the hound to leave a treat on cue 

First steps:  

  • Take a low value (e.g. equivalent of $5) treat, place it on the floor 
  • Cover the treat with your foot 
  • Hound will try to get the treat 
  • When they back off (even slightly) say “yes”/click and reward with a separate high value treat (e.g. equivalent of $50 treat - you can toss the treat away to make it more exciting)  
  • Increase the distance your dog has to move away to earn the treat 
  • Add the cue “leave it” when your hound is reliably moving away from the covered treat 

Next step: adding in movement of the food as movement is much harder to not react to for most dogs 

  • Start original leave it exercise with your hound on a lead 
  • Drop food from ankle height 
  • Say “leave it” 
  • Pick up the food and reward the hound with a separate treat 
  • Gradually increase the height of the drop 
  • Ensure you prevent the dog from getting the food you drop by having them on lead to set you both up for success. There’s no need to use a firm voice for the “leave it” cue, your normal speaking voice will do just fine.