Therapy Dogs International Testing Part 11

TEST 11: LEAVE-IT (this is NOT part of the Canine Good Citizen test)

The handler with the dog on a loose leash walks over food on the ground and, upon command, the dog should ignore the food.

This is perhaps the hardest part of the TDI test for many dogs. Depending on the evaluator you may have to pass by food on the ground, walk over it, or as I’ve seen frequently have your dog “leave it” as the evaluator drops food in front of him while he’s walking. In most cases it is NOT sufficient for the dog to just give you full attention while walking, aka no acknowledgement that the food is even there. The evaluator wants to see that the dog’s seen the food and chosen not to go for it!

Phase 1 — Teach Doggie Zen — learn to give something up to get something
Hold a treat in your left hand, hand closed place your closed fist on the floor (your dog will likely paw & lick at your hand, don’t give in!). As soon as your dog takes his attention off your hand (looks away, looks at you, whatever) use your marker and give a treat from your right hand.  You may need to keep your right hand behind your back.

Phase 2 — Leave It — Begin to add the CUE “LEAVE IT”
• Place the treat or object on the floor, say LEAVE IT.
• If your dog goes for the treat or object quickly step in front of it using a “body block” to prevent your dog from getting the “item” (many a treat has ended up on the bottom of my shoe!)
• Use your marker and treat your dog from your hand when your dog backs up or looks at you. Do not let your dog eat the treat off the floor.
• To master LEAVE IT you will need to practice this stage with many different items and in many different locations.

Here is an excellent link on how to teach a reliable leave it:

Good luck 🙂



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