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Should I Use Drop It or Leave It?


December 3, 2014

It can be tricky to know which command to use in different situations, and sometimes you blurt out whatever command comes to mind, especially if your puppy is attempting to swallow something whole! But the Drop It and Leave It commands are very different from one another, and you want to try and use them in the right situations.

Both commands deal with having your dog stop doing something he’s currently doing, but what exactly is the difference between the two? It’s pretty simple: if it’s in your dog’s mouth, it’s Drop It. If he’s thinking about touching something, it’s Leave It.

When To Use Leave It:

Leave It always asks your dog to remove his attention from whatever it’s on. Here are a few examples:

  • You spy your puppy sniffing at a piece of trash on the ground during a walk. You say Leave It and have him continue on his walk with you.
  • You have your mother-in-law visiting for a nice dinner, and your puppy won’t stop sticking his nose in her lap at the dinner table. While this may be polite dog etiquette, certainly a Leave It is in order.

When To Use Drop It:

Drop It is always used when your dog already has something in his mouth, and you would like for him to give it up.  Here are a few examples of this command in action:

  • You’re getting ready to go out for a fun evening, and you want to wear your brand new shoes. You turn away for just a second only to see your puppy grab that shoe and run! Definitely a Drop It.
  • The kids have been playing with their toys and left them scattered all over the floor. You notice that your puppy is conspicuously absent. When you turn the corner you notice your daughter’s stuffed animal in his mouth. Drop It is the better command here too.

Both of these commands are valuable to teach your dog because they do work differently from one another. It’s also important to note that both commands often work together with other commands. For example, you may ask a dog to leave something alone, but then you might follow that command up with a Come command so that you can redirect his attention onto something else or a Let’s Go command to keep him walking. Both commands work best when piggybacking onto other commands to keep your dog on the right task.



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And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!