Written by Bec Conole

This post follows on from last months and again requires the use of a marker word (yip,yes, etc) or a clicker. To be successful with this sort of training you need to remember that Every time you say the word (click) you follow up with a treat. I love this exercise as it is a great start for self control and communication between you and your hound.

Arm yourself with some yummy treats and a bit of space and sit on the floor. Place a treat on the ground and cover it with your hand. Your hound will sniff (lick, nibble etc) your hand. As soon as she moves her nose away from your hand 'click' and give her a treat with your other hand or toss a treat to her so she has to move away a little bit. If you have done last month's training then your hound will catch onto this quite quickly.

Once your hound is leaving your hand alone while it is covering the treat, up the anti by lifting your hand so she can see it. As soon as she moves towards the treat cover it with your hand. You need quick reflexes for this as hounds move very fast! As she moves away from your hand open it again. If she pauses without moving towards the treat or continues to move away 'click' and reward with a treat from the other hand.

Repeat this exercise until you can put a treat on the ground and your hound makes no move towards it. Once you are at this stage it is time to add the cue 'leave it', 'leave', 'uh uh' or whatever you like as long as you are consistent.  So the cue is added once you have already got the behaviour. This does sound a bit backwards but think about it. If you continue to say 'leave it' while your hound is lunging towards a treat, 'leave it' starts to mean 'lunge towards a treat'!

Jerry demonstrates some of the above in the below pictures.

'I want that treat!'

That 'hmmm' moment when Jerry's backing off

Good boy! 'click' & Treat!

Another 'hmmmm' moment with a slightly open hand

Advancing to the hand being further away from the treat

Once you have the basic leave it established as above you can move onto more advanced sequences.

From a standing position bend and place a treat on the ground and 'leave it'. Toss a treat on the ground and 'leave it'. Toss the treat further away and 'leave it', up the amount of treats that are on display. Use your imagination!

You can also start to incorporate a bit more activity and a release word. For example, toss a treat on the ground, 'leave it', get eye contact and 'okay' (release word) and your hound is allowed to help himself to the treat.  You can of course keep 'leave it' as the hound is not to help himself ever. It's completely up to you. In that case you could toss treat, 'leave it', get eye contact, good dog! And pick up the treat and give it to her.

Priceless demonstrates some more advanced 'leave it' below:

Treat on the ground:

'Leave it'


I want that treat!

Okay... What do you want me to do?

Tossing a treat

'Leave it'

Upping the volume - you can't tell but the container is full of pieces of roast lamb and chicken nuggets!  

'Leave it'


Good girl Priceless!


Once you have consistent 'leave it's at home you can venture into different scenarios, outside, outside the gate on the footpath, at the park etc. It is very important to remember when you change the context (place) that you need to go back a few steps, but your hound will get the gist of things very quickly if you are patient and consistent.

Like any training exercise it is so very important to remember that all hounds learn different things at different rates.

Priceless is a slowpoke. It would be very easy to say she was not very bright or didn't care when something new is introduced. The first time I did the leave it basics with her she sniffed my hand, moved her head away, got a 'click & treat', looked at me and walked away. It was disheartening to say the least.

However she was new to marker training (as was I) and I soon learnt she actually 'walked away', 'processed' then came back the next time two steps ahead. She's a thinker and likes to please and get things right. She continues to surprise me with what she takes in when I think she's not having a bar of it!

So my advice is persevere with your training, short sessions once a day or every couple of days is ample especially in the beginning.

A big thank you to models, Jerry and Priceless, and to Tristan for taking the pictures.

Happy Training

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