How to Train Your Dog to 'Leave It' With Holiday Decor | Pupford
May 9th, 2023
Filed under Training
Feeling fa-la-la-la festive this time of year? Whether you are decorating the Christmas tree, lighting candles on the Menorah, or wrapping presents for family, friends, and neighbors, tis' the season to spread some Holiday cheer. But there are some things that can put a damper on the festivities... *insert very cute but sometimes very mischievious pup here* Luckily, there are things that you can do to make sure these special items go untouched by the wrong paws.
Trevor, CDPT-KA and CCFT, from demonstrated ways that we can get our pups to stay away from holiday decorations and THEN how to redirect that behavior to whatever you need them to.
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HOW TO GET YOUR PUP TO STAY AWAY FROM HOLIDAY DECORATIONS
TEACH YOUR DOG HOW TO LEAVE THINGS ALONE
- Use both lower value and higher value reinforcements, to distinguish for the dog what they should be leaving and what they get in return
- This will teach them that when they leave something alone, they will get something else in return
- Increased reinforcement teaches them that when they leave X alone they will get something better
- Reward them for good behavior
START WITH TREATS IN YOUR HAND
- Use an iron fist, keep fist closed and introduce reinforcement to your dog, praise and treat them
- Repeat until they are getting better
- Open hand and see if they will leave it
GET YOUR DOG TO LEAVE IT ALONE ON THE FLOOR
- Start by covering the treat with your hands
- As they get better you can move the treats around
- Treat and praise them when they do what you want
INVOLVE TOYS IN THIS GAME
- Now add some toys in the mix!
- Praise them and treat when they leave items that you want them to leave alone
NOW INTRODUCE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS / OTHER DECOR
- Start with getting out toys you want your dog to play with
- Then add in the ornaments, presents, etc.
- Move them around the room, etc. Again, reward them for "Leaving It"
TIPS FOR LEAVING IT AROUND THE HOLIDAYS
- Dogs love to forage! Christmas presents and trees are a great place to forage - in their minds. To encourage foraging elsewhere, try something like a so that they can forage and look for reinforcement.
- Get (like , , or ) to redirect problem behavior and to get them something to do!
- Give your dog an environment they can succeed in.
- Don't leave food items underneath the Christmas tree
- Put barriers around the tree
- Put your tree up on a table
Teaching your dog the difference between their toys and holiday decor will be very helpful as you try to get your pup to leave certain items alone. Remember that positive reinforcement is the #1 thing when it comes to training your pup. Not only will you see success over time, your pup and you will be able to build a relationship built on trust.
Have any more training tips around the holidays (or in general?!) Let us know in the comments below.