LFBC Dog Training Week 3 Homework Sheet
Instructor: Mandy Miller 541-661-6093
Continue to practice: name game, sit stay, get back, heal, enough
New this week: Leave it, Down, “Look”
Leave it is basically telling your dog that this is mine, and you cannot have it. Dogs understand this because they say it to each other. They give a look, body block, and/or growl to let the other dog know that that is theirs. You can say the same thing to your dog, he just needs to know what it sounds like, and that he needs to respect it. I use leave it on a regular basis any time I can with dogs with dominance issues, to continually remind them of their place in the household by making them choose the correct response (respecting that a certain thing they want is mine; ie my dinner plate when I am done eating).
You start teaching this by pulling out something other than the treats you use normally (a hot dog piece works well, or some of your left over dinner that is not too messy) and also some of your dogs regular treats. As you start to lower the hand with the leave it item (hot dog) say in a firm but quiet voice “leave it” and use the other hand to swipe the air in front of the hot dog one or two times. If your dog does not try to eat it from your hand, reach back with the empty hand to where you have his regular treats handy and give him one. Say leave it again and bring the leave it item a little bit closer, still swiping the air one or two times. If the dog does start to go for it, use your empty hand to block him by using the same swiping motion- you are NOT hitting or smacking your dog, you are pushing his nose to the side, “blocking” him as you would a tree branch headed your way while mowing the grass.
Down is taught via “lure and reward”- aka follow the treat until you get it right. Show the dog you have a treat WAIT for him to offer a sit on his own, tell him good boy and move the treat toward the ground. If he starts to lay down by stepping forward with front feet and leave his bottom on the ground, go ahead and give him the treat. Tell him good boy! Then repeat. If you can grab another treat quickly while he is half way down, that is best. If his bottom does come off the ground, just wait for a sit again, and take it more slowly this time. Reward him for pausing and not popping his bottom up. Some dogs learn down very quickly, while others it can take quite a while for the dog to really get it.
Look is when you are asking your dog to block everything else out and look straight into your eyes. It takes a lot of trust for a dog to be able to do this in stressful situations, so it can be a great relationship builder. You have to start with the expectations that all you are trying to do is “mark” the correct behavior, which is looking into your face. Be prepared with your treat and yes. Sit at some what of eye level with your dog, and place a treat in each hand. Hold your closed fists out where the dog cannot get the treats out, and wait. Hopefully your dog will get frustrated and look up at you like “hello?” and then you say your “yes!” and give him a treat.