Humans! They don’t want me to drink water unless they put it in a bowl for me!
Really! What’s up with that? Here is all this perfectly fine water and the Human says “leave it!”
Well gee! Okay! I’m leavin’ !
Really! Don’t you think that was a bit mean?
“Leave it comes in handy in so many different situations. My Humans made sure I knew it and we practice it several times a week. It’s the kind of command that the Humans feel needs constant reinforcing with practice sessions even though Momma must say it to me a dozen times of day in various situations. It isn’t just not picking up tasty morsels but it is staying away from places that could harbor a snake or gator.
Before we ever started to learn “leave it”, my Human would make me go into my crate for supper and sit while she put the food in front of me. At first I would start for it and was corrected with a “NO, leave it”. That was my first formal introduction to “leave it”. When I would meet her eyes she’d say “go ahead” and I could eat.
When you get more advanced once more that check cord is important. When we first started Momma made me lay “down” and then she stood on the check cord. She took a treat and put it as far away as she could reach and said “leave it” as she put it down. I had to lay there FOREVER, though Momma said it was only 2 or 3 minutes, before Momma picked up the treat and put it in my mouth. Humans say you should never let us pawed ones get the treat for themselves. I was still in a “down”. Momma still picks it up and gives it to me. The point of the check cord is to keep your buddy from getting the treat on his own. That would be rewarding him for a “no, no”.
Momma kept lengthening the time she left the treat before giving it to me. Different trainers say different amounts of time, but since my training sessions don’t usually last more than 10 or 15 minutes, I would earn it within that time.
The next step is to move it closer. Once your buddy lays there and doesn’t try to get the treat for the complete session, it’s time to move it even closer. Now when we practice the treat is between my paws. Momma watches like a hawk so I don’t sneak a treat. If I even lower my head slightly, a sharp “aht!” from Momma stops me. She turns away and does stuff so I think she’s not lookin’ but she really is. Sometimes she even leaves the room for a minute or so.
Once I ate the treat while she was out of the room. When she came back we had an extra session from the beginning with the treat a couple feet in from of me. For the next several days we worked through the first, second and third stages. In a couple of weeks we were back to leaving me with the treat while Momma went to do something else. She left the treat a foot or so in front of me so I’d have to move to get it. She also put me in a “down”, “stay”. Now I was really practicing 3 different commands at once. Usually the “down, stay” is practiced while the Humans eat their supper. Since Momma was pretty sure I wouldn’t break the “down, stay”, she was pretty sure I wouldn’t bother the treat. Momma said it was a good way for me to learn self control.
Then we advanced to putting goodies around during some of the training sessions and I’d have to “heal” past them and around them. Sometimes we use my toys instead.
Have I helped you? I hope so!
Now it’s time for the Saturday Blog Hop!