Why “Leave it” is the Most Important Command to Teach Your Dog

“Leave it” is the most important command to teach your dog, followed closely by “come.” The reason that “leave it” is so important is because it keeps your dog from eating dangerous foreign objects on the sidewalk or at the dog park. It can keep you and your dog out of trouble in many potentially dangerous situations. Dogs and humans share many diseases, including leptospirosis, a very unpleasant disease caused by parasites that humans can catch from dogs. Dogs contract this disease from feces and dirty water. While most dogs don’t eat poop, they may eat something that has come in contact with infected feces and pass it on to you. Dogs can also contract lepto from drinking contaminated water. The best way to avoid these infections is to tell your dog to “leave it” when you see your dog sniffing at something unclean.

“Leave it” can also prevent dangerous confrontations between your dog and other animals. Dogs are often interested in wild city animals such as raccoons and squirrels. Most dogs will chase house cats they see as well. The “leave it” command can get your dog away from potentially dangerous meetings between your dog and a raccoon or house cat.

Betty S. Egger spent twenty years teaching dogs and dog owners the power of “leave it” from her business on Mercer Island, Washington. She says that “leave it” was the first command she taught clients how to use on their dogs when they came to her for dog training. She continues to be involved in the dog-lover community, volunteering for various no-kill shelters in the greater Seattle area.


The Keys of Dog Training

Training dogs can relatively easy if you remember that dogs usually want to please their owners any way they can. Using this fact to your advantage is the first thing that all dog trainers tell their clients when they start training. If you are training your dog, you have to establish what you consider good behavior and what you consider bad behavior. Potty training is usually one of the first things dogs learn in a new home. New dogs to a home, especially puppies, typically struggle with potty training because they don’t know where it is acceptable to go to the bathroom and where it is not. It’s up to you to create the right habits so that the dog will be able to please you with its behavior.

Consistency is another key to proper dog training. A behavior can’t be acceptable one day and unacceptable another day. This is why some dog trainers tell their clients to avoid potty pads and other training aids that essentially confuse a dog’s training. Dogs have short memories as well, which can cause problems with training. If you come home to a pee stain, you have to resist the urge to punish your dog for peeing in the house. The dog doesn’t remember peeing on your rug, and he or she will be confused as to why you are angry with them.

Betty S Egger is a former dog trainer with over twenty years of experience operating out of her home on Mercer Island, Washington.