I received a phone call from someone who was walking my dog while I was at work. Duggar, my rescued beagle mix, snagged a cooked chicken bone from the sidewalk and refused to give it up. He growled and fought for his new trophy. Unfortunately this could be an expensive vet visit.

While some bones are good for dogs, cooked chicken bones can snap and splinter causing sharp edges to cut the inside of the dog's digestive track. The next 72 hours we are on high alert. After speaking with the vet's office, they said if he's not choking it's ok for now. But you need to make sure the bone passes safely through his body. Which means examining dog poop for the next three days. If he does not pass then a visit to the vet should be the next step.

While knowing what to do in this situation is helpful, learning from it and preventing it is even more important. Teaching your dog to let go of an object is a difficult task and requires a solid relationship between you and your dog. The command is most often called "leave it" and it's something that should be ingrained in your dog's head as early as possible.

I practice this command with his toys. We play his favorite game, tug-of-war, and while he's all amped-up I challenge him by getting him to just let go. His reward for letting go is throwing the toy right away thus turning tug-of-war into a game of fetch.

If your dog doesn't already know the command leave it, then practice. It will take a while depending on your dog and how often you try. But it's an important command that can help keep your dog safe.