Pug Training 101: Teaching Your Pug to Leave It

What an important skill to teach a pug. We know they have an impressive appetite and they can be reinforced for quickly gobbling things up off the ground.  While this can be an issue for our heavier pugs on diets it can also be a danger to our beloved babies.

If a pug has had lots of practice eating food we have dropped then we could be endangering their lives…. What happens the day you drop a couple of cold and flu tablets or a couple of Nurofen? The consequences could be fatal if they are swiftly gobbled down.

Today’s training post is here to help you achieve a really good “leave it”. I like to do this with two different food treats. One treat is the one we will ask the dog to leave and the other treat will be your reward and you will need plenty of them.

The number one tip I have is to never reward the pug with the treat you have asked him/her to leave…

Lots of people like to show me their leave it skills. They place a tasty treat on the floor in front of their dog and give the “leave it” command. Sure enough the dog will leave the treat as commanded. However the mistake is made when the owner says “ok”’ and allows the dog to eat the treat they were asked to leave. What the dog has learnt is to eat the wrong thing… what if we ask him to leave a dead possum on a walk….. yuck! Our reward for leave it should come from us.

Now let’s get to it… Start with a food treat closed tightly in your fist. In your other hand (behind your back) you will have your rewards. Place your closed fist in front of your pug’s nose. Keep your hand still. Ask your pug to “leave it”. They will of course have no idea what that means and will continue their quest to get the food from your fist. You can repeat this command in a nice calm relaxed voice. There is no need to shout. Eventually they will realise they cannot get the treat and they will get bored and look away. As soon as they look away, mark with our bridge word “Yes” and instantly reward from your other hand.

Repeat the above and you will notice very quickly how fast your pug will learn this!

As your pug starts to understand the training you can start to up the ante by relaxing your grip on the treat to make it more enticing. Now the treat seems more available expect your pug to try really hard again. If you are doing well your pug will understand to leave that as well to get the reward from your other hand.

Continue the challenge by placing food down on the ground but cup your hand over the treat, giving your command and when your pug leaves it, reward them. Food on the ground is often free game for your pug so this one may be challenging.

As your training progresses you can work with different foods. In my video I was able to get Franklin to leave a cheeseburger.

Now watch the training video and get to work.

I would love to see some training videos uploaded to the Facebook page too so I can see how well your pug is doing with the “leave it” command. And always feel free to leave your questions and comments below for me to read. I love to hear feedback and what you would like to see in upcoming training posts.

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Amy Smith
Amy Smith is a certified dog and puppy obedience trainer. She is very passionate about helping dogs, in particular puppies, to become the best fur kid they can be in your family. Amy runs regular puppy training classes through her business on Sydney's Northern Beaches, Amy's Puppy Pre-school.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Hezhu Chao on August 22, 2016 at 3:49 pm


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