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

Leave It / Get It 102: Wait for the Food

Waiting for Food

Teach your dog to be calm around food by following these steps to each him to wait calmly for his dinner.


  • Food bowl
  • Kibble
  • Hungry dog
  • Mat

Training Environment

Train wherever your dog usually eats his dinner.  To help with your mat work, feed him on his mat.

Part One: Getting the behavior started

  • Place your mat on the floor.
  • Facing the mat, begin to lower the food bowl to the floor.
  • If your dog gets up, stand up straight and raise the food bowl.
  • Lower the food bowl again.
  • Continue doing this as your dog allows you to get closer and closer to the floor.
  • When you are about halfway down, click and place the food on the floor and let your dog have it.
  • Once your dog has mastered this, move on to the next step.

Part Two: Increasing the Criteria

  • Each day work until you get the bowl a little closer to the floor before you click and treat.
  • Continue this until the bowl is on the floor.
  • If your dog attempts to get the bowl before you click, either lift the bowl back up or cover it with your hands. Do not let your dog get the food.   Back off a little on the difficulty and work more slowly.
  • When your dog is waiting for you to put the food on the floor and click before he gets up, move on to the next step.

Part Three: Finish the Behavior and Add the Cue

  • Once your dog is waiting for the click to get the food, add the “Get it” cue.
  • When the food is on the floor say “Get it!”
  • Click and let your dog get the food.
  • After a few repetitions your dog will start getting up for the cue rather than waiting for the click.  This is what you want.
  • When your dog no longer waits for the click, stop clicking.


  • PUPPIES: For the first five to seven days, work on starting the behavior. Then move on to increase criteria for about a week. Finally, finish by adding the “get it” cue.
  • DOGS: Work on starting the behavior for about three days before increasing the criteria. Once the food is on the floor click and treat a few times and move on to finishing the behavior.

At the End of This Step

Your dog will be waiting politely for you to put the food on the floor, stand back up, and tell him “Get it!” before he goes for his food.


My dog keeps getting up.

  • Move more slowly.
  • Try breaking the exercise up into smaller pieces.
  • Figure out where he starts to have trouble by watching him carefully.
  • Instead of aiming for going all the way to the floor, release him before the point where he starts to have trouble. Maybe you have only lowered the bowl a foot, but tomorrow you will do better.