Use this space to introduce or discuss training issues -- brag about successes, lament setbacks, or bounce a question off the group.
Mine this week is more in the "lament setbacks" category.
My dogs have a so-so "leave-it" command. They know what it means and they perform it when I practice it in a controlled environment, but in real life it often goes haywire.
I taught it to keep them from picking up things I don't want them to have. "Leave it" means don't walk up to it, don't sniff it, and definitely don't put it in your mouth. It's an essential command when you visit hospital rooms as a therapy dog team.
I also use it -- and I now question the wisdom of this -- when another dog approaches. "Leave it" means don't interact with the other dog: Don't bark, don't tug at your leash, and don't run up to it. Well, that's what I assumed it meant to them.
But a recent nighttime walk exposed its shortcomings in that capacity. It was especially dark, and I was walking all three on leash to the park. I saw something on the ground that looked like food waste, so in advance I gave the "leave it" command.
What I didn't realize is we were directly in front of a neighbor's house that often has a dog out front. Almost daily, I give the "leave it" command at that same location in an attempt to avoid a bark-off.
When I gave the "leave it' command that night, all three of mine started barking and pulling at their leashes TOWARD the neighbor dog's house -- and the neighbor dog was nowhere in sight! To my dogs, apparently, "leave it" when given in front of a known barker's house means THERE HE IS! GET HIM!
The laughable experience has me re-examining. Perhaps "leave it" shouldn't be used as such a versatile command. Maybe I should reserve it for avoiding items on the ground and find something new to keep them quiet when another dog is visible.
Has anyone else run into that problem with "leave it?"
What's your training tale for the week?