Leave It: Teaching Your Dog To Ignore Food On Command

One of the most valuable lessons your dog can learn from you is to “leave it.” Dogs are naturally curious, and they have the instinct to scavenge food. Scraps lefts on park benches or in the grass have the potential to harm your dog, especially if people have specifically targeted the “leftovers” to be harmful to animals. Other normal people foods and objects can also be hazardous to your dog’s health (pieces of leather, chocolate, or raisins, to name a few). Teaching your dog to ignore food that doesn’t come from you and to “leave it” when it looks interesting is therefore a needed skill. 


To teach your dog to leave it, begin you training session with a dog treat in one hand. Your dog will notice and be excited, sniffing at your closed hand. When he sniffs, say, “Leave it,” in a firm voice. Your dog may not immediately understand, but as soon as he looks away from your hand or pulls back, reward him with a different treat using your other hand—the one he was not sniffing. If you do not use treats to train your dog, keep cheese or a piece of leftover chicken in your hand, and reward with a belly rub or another type of positive reinforcement. 

To elevate this first training step, put the food in your open palm. When he sniffs, say, “Leave it.” If he tries to take the treat, close your hand. Open your hand and say the command again. When he finally turns away, reward him again with a different treat from your other hand. 

The next step is to train your dog to leave it when you are not holding the treat. Instead, place it on the floor near you. When your dog approaches, repeat “Leave it.” If he tries to eat the treat, cover it with your hand and repeat your command again. Once he walks away or ignores it, reward him.


Now it is time to test the training. Place your dog on a leash and lay some desirable food or toy on the sidewalk. When he sniffs the toy, state your command. Remain standing. If he chooses not to obey, cover the food or toy with your foot. Only after he fully ignores the item on the sidewalk, reward him. After your dog has mastered this command, try the same process when he is off the leash at the dog park. Eventually, your dog will ignore any foreign item he finds on command. 

For more pet obedience training tips, contact a company like Petrichor K9.

Man’s Best Friend May Be Your Best Medicine Too

If you suffer from a mental disability, you may find that a dog or cat helps provide emotional support. Should this be the case, you will want to talk to your physician about an emotional support animal (ESA).

An emotional support animal does not need special training. They are usually your beloved household pet. ESA’s are typically dogs, but yours may be a cat or other small domesticated animal. As long as your pet provides comfort and helps to minimize emotional symptoms brought on by your disability, it is on its way to helping you qualify.

Let’s look in more depth at how and why an ESA is prescribed.

The Need

The first step you must take is showing that you have the need for an animal companion.

Emotional disabilities can and do hinder people from performing daily activities. If you suffer from an emotional impairment, and a household pet helps you function, you are on your way to being able to qualify for having an ESA.

Disabilities that fall into the category of emotional include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Personality Disorder
  • Social Phobias

Obtaining the Letter or Prescription

Any licensed mental health provider can issue a prescription for their patient to have an ESA. They will need to do an emotional support animal evaluation and determine that you suffer from an emotional disorder and your pet does provide the treatment you need. Once this is determined, the mental health professional will write a letter on their letterhead to whomever necessary. The letter will need to state:

  • That you are currently a patient under their care.
  • You are being treated for a valid mental health issue.
  • Your disability inhibits you from performing at least one normal daily function
  • The pet is necessary and being prescribed for your treatment.

They must also provide their licensing information in the letter.

Why Would You Need a Prescription Letter?

You may need a letter stating you need your animal companion if you are moving into a rental property that otherwise does not allow pets. Most landlords cannot refuse you based on the fact that you have an ESA. The pet must be well behaved, and no pose a danger to anyone.

ESA’s are allowed on airplanes and do not have to be in a carrier under a seat. Airlines must also waive any fees they typically charge for pets when the pet is an emotional support animal.

There may be other instances where you will be required to show an ESA letter. This means it is important to maintain an ongoing relationship with your mental health provider.

Preventing Dog-On-Dog Aggression: How You Can Take Charge

If you own one or more dogs, you know that aggression between canines can be scary, dangerous, and ideally, avoided. Here are some tips on how you can deter dog-on-dog aggression both in your household and outside the home.

In the Home

If you have several dogs in the home, preventing conflicts is essential in maintaining a safe and peaceful environment for humans and pets. One of the biggest reasons dogs fight is lack of leadership from their human owners. When a group of dogs senses the potential to take over the alpha role, there can be scuffles to see who will get the top spot. It is imperative, therefore, that to prevent fights, your dogs see you as the ultimate leader.

Another reason dogs fight is called “resource guarding,” or developing possessiveness about any of the following:

  • food
  • treats
  • toys
  • beds
  • furniture
  • other dogs
  • people

If your dogs are arguing over any of the above, you need to take measures immediately. Separate animals with crates, baby gates, or other types of barricades whenever toys come out, if they can’t share. Feed your dogs in separate areas as well, and always supervise them when they have treats to make sure one isn’t stealing from another.

If your dogs are dominant or piggish about furniture, it’s probably time to keep them on the ground permanently. Use laundry baskets or large cardboard boxes to train your pups to stay off chairs or the sofa. Keep them in their own area at night, so they don’t feel the need to be in bed with you.

Out and About

When you leave the house, you obviously have less control over canine aggression, as you can’t be responsible for other people’s dogs. If you frequent the dog park, consider going during off hours when it’s less crowded. Taking a class in canine good citizenship can help your dog learn how to greet strange dogs, as well as how to behave politely in society in general.

Always obey leash laws when walking your dog in public, and never let your dog lunge or bark at passing dogs. While in training with your dog to learn leash manners, you may have to avoid crowded walking areas or use a basket muzzle on your dog if it shows aggression towards other dogs.

In spite of all your efforts, you may encounter a loose aggressive dog that wants to fight with yours. Having a good dog repellent, such as from Sound Defense, on hand every time you walk your dog is therefore a wise idea.

There are chemical-free, humane repellents available today that are the same substances delivery people, meter readers, and utility workers carry. A spray in the direction of the aggressive dog will send it running, and you can continue your walk safely without hurting the other dog.

Three Things You Never Knew About Training Your Puppy

Training a puppy is something that seems pretty straightforward, but is actually somewhat difficult to do well. It takes some insight into the mind of a puppy to really train them well, not just throwing commands to them. If you’re starting out on the process, here’s a look at three things you never knew about training a puppy.

There Should Be No Name Calling

It’s a general rule that you shouldn’t use your puppy’s name during training, at least not in a negative way. Why? Pet training experts say that your dog should never have a negative connotation with their name. That means that during training, it’s fine to use the word no, but don’t say, “No, Fido!” Your dog should always want to come running when they hear their name, and using it in a negative tone could cause them to be hesitant. They’ll quickly get confused if sometimes their name is good, but sometimes it’s bad. This is especially useful in a situation where you have a dog that’s running for danger (like a busy road). A dog that quickly comes when its name is called, no matter the circumstance, it what your ultimately after.

Training Should Start From Day One

It’s a commonly held belief that puppy training shouldn’t start until about two months of age. It is true that it takes until about seven or eight weeks of age for a puppy to master commands like sit and stay, but general obedience training should begin immediately according to experts like canine guru Cesar Millan. A puppy begins learning as soon as they come into the world, so they might as well be learning good habits.

Repetition Is Not the Key

Watch someone trying to train a dog, and you’ll likely see a scenario that plays out with the owner saying, “Sit… sit… sit… sit…” until the puppy plops its rear down. The only problem with this is that the  puppy may start to think that the command for sit really is “Sit… sit… sit… sit…” and that the proper response is sitting down after the fourth time. This is a very difficult habit for owners to overcome, but one that could make training immensely easier.

Of course, even if you take all these tips into account, obedience training can still be a little overwhelming. That’s why it’s often best to enlist the help of a professional trainer. A pro puppy trainer likely has years of experience, and knows exactly how to deal with any canine personality. With a little help from the professionals, you’ll be on the way to having a perfectly trained puppy in no time. Contact a business, such as Levenson Barb Dog Training Centers, for more information about dog training.     

Getting Your Dog To Cooperate At Bath Time

Bathing your dog is an essential part of any grooming regimen. Some dogs do not like taking a bath and if your dog is one of them then you will have to find creative ways to get your pet to take a bath. Here are a few tips you can use to get your dog to be more accommodating at bath time.

Make Pleasant Connections

If your dog runs away or hides when they know it is time for a bath then it is time for you to get your dog to connect bath time with happy times. You can do this by always offering your dog a tasty treat right after bath time. You can also have a new chew toy ready to give them right after a bath. Play fetch or go to the park right after bath time so that your dog can start associating bath time with these fun activities.

Train Your Dog Ahead Of Time

Practice makes perfect, so one of the best things you can do is to get your dog to practice going in and out of a tub beforehand. Place a rubber mat in the tub if you use the one in your bathroom, this will prevent your dog from sliding. Throw a treat into the empty tub and instruct your dog to get in. After your dog gets into the tub and eats the treat, you can give them another treat for staying in the tub. Repeat this practice when the actual bath time comes around.

Use A Friendly Shampooing Strategy

Place some cotton in your dog’s ears to prevent water and shampoo from getting into them. Water in the ears may get your dog agitated and prevent them from cooperating during a bath. Use a washcloth to shampoo and clean your dog’s face gently, this will give you more control over the shampoo and prevent it from getting into your pets eyes and nose. Once you have shampooed your dog’s entire body, use a pitcher to pour water over them in the tub, use your hand to gently rub the dog as you pour the water on them. This strategy has two effects, it removes the shampoo while allowing you to gently rub and soothe your pet.

Getting a dog who hates baths to cooperate at bath time requires some planning but getting your pet clean and fresh makes the effort worthwhile.

To learn more, contact a dog grooming company like South Tampa Puppy Palace