Located in Rudy, Arkansas
Serving Fort Smith, Van Buren, and surrounding areas

Leave It 101: It’s Your Choice

Leave It: Letting Your Dog Make the Correct Choice

Dog in harness

Teaching your dog to leave treats in your hand


  • Treats or kibble
  • Clicker on lanyard or bracelet

Training Environment

Start in the least distracting (most boring) place in your home.

Treat Position

Hand the treat to your dog and say “Get it”

First Steps

  • Fill your hand with 10-15 pea sized treats.
  • Hold your closed hand (palm upward) right in front of your dog at eye level and let him investigate.
  • Do not move your hand.  Rest your hand on your knee if it helps you keep still.
  • When your dog turns his head or moves away (even for a split second) click.
  • With your other hand, give your dog one of the treats and say “Get it”.

Next Steps

  • After three times, wait a little longer for a more pronounced retreat from the treat hand.
  • Click and treat.
  • Repeat three or four times and then wait for an even better effort from your dog to leave the treats alone.

Final Steps

  • Begin saying “leave it!” right before you think your dog will stop investigating the treats.  Say it only once.
  • When your dog backs off, click and treat.
  • Your dog will begin to back off completely and look at you waiting for his treat.
  • Click and treat.
  • Repeat the last few steps until he is doing it every time.


  • PUPPIES: Work on this for three to five minutes once a day.
  • DOGS: Work on this until you have given your dog all the treats in your hand. Do this three times each day.

At the End of This Exercise

Your dog will be backed away from your hand waiting for you to click and hand him a treat.  Most dogs are sitting at this point.


My dog is chewing on my fingers.

  • This is normal when you first start this exercise, but if he’s really determined about it and causing you significant pain, ask your trainer to modify the exercise or wear leather gloves.
  • Try switching from treats to kibble or other lower value rewards.


My dog is showing no interest in the treats.

  • Try a better treat that your dog really wants.
  • Work when your dog is really hungry. You might even feed him part of his meal this way.


My dog keeps stealing treats.

  • Make sure your hand is tightly closed.
  • Make sure you are treating with the hand that does not have the treats in it.
  • Treat on the mat instead of handing him treats.