Training your dog to come when called is one thing, but obedience training involves a more formal recall where your dog comes to you and sits straight looking up at you in the front position before being finished to heel either with a left-flip or a right go around. If you are new to obedience training, this might be a lot to take in, but when we break it down, you will see that training “front” is not as complicated as it seems.
Training a formal obedience recall has benefits even outside of the ring. If you have no desire to compete, you can still use the recall in real life with your dog. Have you ever been in a situation where you called your dog to you and after trotting over, she bolted before you could leash her up? If your dog learns to come to you and sit politely instead of taking off again, you will be able to clip the leash on without a problem.
Another benefit of training a formal recall is that it challenges you as a trainer. You might know how to train a dog to come when called, but as you advance, you should also learn how you should position your body, use your hands, when to reward your dog, when to release your dog, and when to finish to heel and when not to finish. There will also be times that you leave your dog in a stay and return without calling her. These are training skills you will learn and understand as you advance from working on basic pet manners to working on advanced skills.
Are you ready to give it a try and train your dog, “front?”
A few tips for training Front
Choose your cue before you start training your dog. Whatever you decide to name this behavior (front, come, here) make sure you are consistent. Never flip-flop between words. Train your dog to listen to your recall word without ever having to repeat it. Do not use your recall word/cue in other more casual situations. If “front” means to come to you and sit in front, it should always have that meaning.
Use high-value rewards and turn the reward into an event. You should reward your dog for the behavior, but do not use the reward as a bribe. When you call your dog, your hands should be at your side (except for early in training). Deliver the reward with enthusiasm when your dog gets to you or after they get a straight sit in front (you should vary when you reward them depending on where you are in training). Turn the reward into an event instead of feeding them and asking them to do another task. Take a minute to pet and praise your dog, play a game of tug, and thank her for coming to you! Food is a great reward, but don’t bore your dog by giving the same same treat every time.
Know what your goals are before you train. You should always have an idea of what you want the finished behavior to look like before you begin training. For the recall, watch videos or training friends practice the recall. Make a list of each step involved in the obedience recall and work on one step at a time. If you don’t know what you are working towards you will get stuck practicing the same skill over and over again.
For more on training you dog to come when called check out this post from March
I hope you enjoyed today’s trick. I’m off to train!