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This command is one that is often over looked but can actually save your puppies life. So, let’s show you how to teach your lab puppy to drop it or leave it command. The reason why I say it can save your pups life is that it could prevent your pup from picking up something potentially poisonous or dangerous or just plain gross. Nothing tops your puppy dropping a used condom filled with used needles and razor blades into your lap or realizing after a complimentary face wash you discover they had just ate a great nutritious meal of poop … bet you wish you taught them the leave it alone command now don’t you?

Labrador Retriever helping himself with a soup ladle.
"Is this my pooper scooper?"

As I said before you will most likely be using this command a lot, much more than the others but it’s not to say you should exclude it from your training regime. If your training indoors I would say your fine without the leash as you won’t be able to handle the lead with what else will be needed of you. If you are outside, you can hook the leash to your belt or around your waist. Some people prefer to loop it around your ankle but do be ready in case your pup decides to bee-line it after that squirrel dashing across the park.

Needed training tools:

  • A closed in space – A living room, basement, fenced in backyard. The smaller the space the less distractions that are likely to interfere.
  • Reward Treats – Younger puppies will eat anything so their dry kibble is enoough to entice them. Just be sure that whatever you give them in training is subtracted from their daily portions as labs are known to put on a few uneeded pounds in their lifetime. A simple choice for treats that you can make at home are dehydrated sweet potato fries…then you can snack as well! Also, for this particular training having 2 different food rewards would be beneficial such as kibble and then a really aromatic treat.
  • Reward Toy – If you care to focus on their affixation to that favorite toy then you would want to use it here. A quick note here that a smaller toy would work better but at the same time but you also can not choose what your puppy desires.
  • Collar/Leash – As these are no needed in your living room or basement, your puppy has to learn to lay down on the leash also so why not kill two birds with one stone.
  • Poop Bags – Of course if your at the park or in the back yard these are a given necessity.
A Labrador Retriever holding onto a sneaker in its mouth.
"I don't know how I always lose the other three shoes..."

This is a very demanding request that you are asking of your puppy so do not get frustrated or upset with them because remember, your asking your puppy to stop being a puppy. You will also get the most use out of this command so it may turn out to be super easy just from sheer repetitiveness of this command on a daily basis. However it may turn out, you and your pup having a strong grasp of this command will build a greater bond together which sets a great foundation for my advanced and difficult training.


  1. Have you pup in the “sit” position. Be sure to be at his level or even sitting on the floor, just be sure that when they look at you, they have to look up, even if just a little bit. The higher head is higher in the pecking order.We are not trying to be intimidating we are simply communicating through body language. When you go it for a job interview, you don’t slouch or hang your head. Your body language is upward posture head up, shoulders swept back, it’s confidence you portray right, same here just in a different language, one you pup can understand.
  2. Have a piece of kibble in each hand and make sure you puppy is focused on it as you close your fist and place it on the floor while giving the verbal cue you choose to use. Be sure the verbal cue can not be mistaken for another command or a commonly used word. I often use a sound I make to intiate eye contact and then I issue the verbal command “leave it alone”.
  3. Don’t move your fist at all, allow them to sniff, paw at it, whine or bark, even lick or try to pick up in their mouth, but do not show any reation to these behaviors, no matter how funny it may become. We want to to lose interest in it or submit to it. 
  4. Once we have achieved either of those behaviors, you can then reward them the kibble but from the opposite hand, not the one they were trying to get. You want them to believe that the reward they will recieve will always be better than what captivated their attention in the first place. Change up your hands, leave a tv or radio on while training this one. The more distractions in the space, if they remainde fixed on it but do nothing to try and get it is the best possible result you could get. As always try to do 3 sets of 3 reps and show breif periods of affection in between sets for reseting the mind and creating positive reinforcement.
  5. As they become more in control, test their skill level. Use open hands, use more desirable treats with stronger scents, use a favorite toy, even making them wait for their dinner until you release them to it. If your puppy knows how to play fetch, use the “drop it” cue on every return. 
  6. When your puppy seems to have this without any mess ups, leave the treats on the floor and stand completely upright. Your getting up will trigger them to do the same which is a great reaction to train away. If to go for the treats as you stand up, just cover it quickly with your foot, as to claim it.
An older Labrador Retriever with three tennis balls in its mouth.
"What!? They come packaged in three's"

Having taught these 5 basic training cues/commands, the following had happened. You and your puppy are now safer, a better line of communication has opened up, your puppy is respecting you and understanding where they fit within the household. We have begun to get you into the habit of making walks about exercise not just going for a potty walk.Your puppy has become happier for feeling they have a job that they are fulfilling for you, you have become prouder and more involved with your puppies life. If you maintain this trend, you will have also gained your new best life long friend.