We practiced the importance of waiting and impulse control so much that my dog looks confused on if it is OK or not to take the treat out of my hand
- Recycle toys around and take out only fun, squeaky, colorful toys when first teaching take it. You can also introduce new toys to make this exercise look more exciting.
- Use a more excitable and encouraging voice when you say the “take it” cue.
- Present a more tasteful, stronger smelling treat or piece of food.
- Practice when your dog is hungry, so the smell of the treat is motivating to eat.
Most Common Mistakes
Standing too far
You are presenting the treat or toy at too far of a distance at first. You need to present it at a short distance, so your dog has an easier time understanding that it is something rewarding to take from you.
Saying the “take it” command in a low pitched, neutral tone
It is much more exciting to your dog to take what is in your hand when you speak in an exciting and happy tone of voice when teaching commands like take it. Teaching the importance of impulse control in the closed fist exercise may confuse your dog on whether it is acceptable to take this toy or treat out of your hand. By saying it in a more exciting tone of voice will help encourage your dog that you are allowing him/her to take what is in your hand.
Standing while giving the cue “take it”
For smaller dogs, it is hard for them to see what is in your hand. Lower the treat at the level of your dog’s nose, so it is easier for your dog to see, and you can also change the direction and position of your hand. This will also help prevent your dog from jumping up to take what is in your hand.
Using toys or treats that are not that exciting
Try holding tasteful smelling treats or fun toys in your hand.
1. Ask your dog to sit, go into a down, or standing position to prevent any jumping at first.
2. Present the treat or toy at your dog’s eye or nose level.
3. Encourage your dog to come to take what is in your hand by saying “take it” in a fun, happy, exciting tone of voice. You can also make kissy noises to encourage your dog to come to see what is in your hand. When your dog eats the treat out of your hand or takes the toy, immediately mark the behavior by saying “Yes” or “Good” or click. Using your clicker or verbal praise is important, so your dog understands it is a wanted behavior to take what is in your hand rather than ignore it.
4. Present the reward in your hand in different positions and at different heights but not high enough where your dog is practicing jumping.
5. If your dog is having trouble with this at first, along with kissy noises, you can also let your dog sniff the treat first or show the toy closely so he/she can feel excited about the reward. Using tasteful smelling treats or fun-looking toys will motivate your dog to want to eat the treat or get the toy out of your hand. Then once again, ask for a sit, down, or stand position and repeat the steps.