Last week the Twin Cities was in an uproar over a slew of dangerous baited dog treats strewn around a Lakeville neighborhood. Screws, rubber bands and pills wrapped in tasty hot dogs and peanut butter were clearly intended to entice and cause harm to innocent family pets. Our condolences go out to families whose pets were affected by this nightmare.

While this type of incident is rare and isolated, it does serve as a reminder to always be aware of your dog’s surroundings and what he may be finding of interest as he sniffs the ground on a walk, in your yard or even in your home.

The best defense against him ingesting whatever he may find is to teach your dog the “leave it” command. Learning “leave it” will give your dog the self-restraint to look to you for guidance before gobbling down something harmful.

Katie Grillaert of Fetch Dog Training offers the following tips for teaching your dog “leave it” as a default behavior.


Practice this technique with your dog and come back in the coming weeks for a additional parts to this training series. We’ll expand on this skill with “leave it” in an open hand, then “leave it” on floor, then “leave it” walking past items.