Take it’ is one of the easiest commands to teach and it is also one of the most valuable. Mastering this command will help your dog in developing a soft gentle bite. You don’t want your dog taking your fingers off every time you hand him a treat. You also want your dog to understand that you are the boss and he should not grab things out of your hand unless you tell him that it is acceptable. Teaching the command ‘take it’ will protect your fingers and your relationship with your dog.
Start by placing one of your dog’s favorite treats in the middle of your closed hand. Show your dog the treat before closing your hand around it.
Allow your dog to sniff around your hand but do not open your hand until your dog is calm and waiting patiently. Your dog will probably be excited and interested at first and anxious to get to the treat. Do not open your hand until the dog has stopped trying to get at the treat. This encourages a sort of “Doggie – Zen” which is a positive trait for your dog to adopt.
Once the dog is calm, open your hand and give the treat while stating “take it” in a calm and firm tone of voice. If your dog lunges to grab the treat use the word “gentle”. Do not reward the dog until he takes the treat politely. Make sure you give the dog the command as he is taking the treat.
Once your dog has the hang of the command you can combine this command with “leave it” or “wait” so that the dog does not eat or take anything without you expressly telling them it is ok by giving the “take it” command. This will go a long way to protect your dog from eating something dangerous off the ground.