Leave It!

How much garbage and other poop should a dog eat on a leash walk? You can yell LEAVE IT! and jerk hard on the leash but your dog may only learn to move faster in his quest for dangerous junk. Besides, scaring your dog with a harsh reprimand could damage the trust you’ve worked hard to build.

All dogs want to scavenge when they’re away from home because foraging is natural for them. Their survival in the wild depends on it. Never mind that great dog food is abundant at your house; our dogs are sure that the Great Famine will start in 20 minutes. They have to eat carrion of all descriptions ASAP.

Rather than correcting and punishing a natural behavior, your dog can earn a better alternative from you – her reliable leader. Carry food in your treat bag (Karen Pryor Clicker Training Black Treat Pouch by Terry Ryan). Try to have a treat in your hand at all times. As you notice your leashed dog getting ready to pounce on putrefied road kill say, “Mick, Leave It!” as you pull him toward you. Remember, it’s a command like any other – a cue for an opportunity to earn food, praise, and most important, affection. It’s so much better than horse manure or a dead rodent. Repeat hundreds of times.